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Medum / 

3 1924 028 670 465 *,„, 

Cornell University 

The original of this book is in 
the Cornell University Library. 

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M E D U M. 







DAVID NUTT, 270, 271, STRAND. 



LONDON: ^^^ 










Settling to work . 
Copying the sculptures 
Opening the tombs 
Finding the temple 
Clearing the temple 
Other excavations 



(Plates I-IV.) 

The Pyramid and Temple. 

8. Construction of the pyra- 

mid 5 

9. Survey 5 

10. Form of the pyramid . . 6 

11. Inner coats of pyramid . 6 

12. Peribolus 7 

13. Temple 8 

14. Courtyard 8 

15. Causeway 9 

16. Contents of temple . . 9 
.17. Southern building. . . 10 

18. Grooves on pyramid . . 10 

19. Entrance passage . . .10 

20. Lower passages and cham- 

bers II 


(Plates V-VII.) 

The Mastabas and Burials. 

21. Mastaba No. 17. . . . Ii 

22. Builders' construction lines 12 

23. Cubits and dimensions . 13 

24. Interior 13 

25. Mastaba 16, Nefermat . 14 

26. „ 6, Rahotep. . 15 

27. „ 6, Annex . . 17 

28. „ 9, Ranefer . . 17 

29. „ 8 . . . . i8 


30. Mastabas with open 

chamber 19 

31. Mastabas with sloping 

passage , 

32. Lesser tombs . 

33. Contracted burials 

34. Mutilations of bodies 



(Plates IX-XXVIII.) 
The Sculptured Chambers. 

35. Scale and accuracy of 

plates 22 

36. Method of copying . . 23 

37. Plates IX-XU; Rahotep 23 

38. Plates XIII, XIV; Ra- 

hotep 24 

39. Plate XV ; Nefert . . 24 

40. Inlaying by Nefermat's 

method 24 

41. Plates XVI-XXI ; Nefer- 

mat 25 

42. Plates XXII -XXVII; 

Atet 26 

43. Plate XXVIII ; Frescoes 27 

44. Colouring of Rahotep . 28 

45. Colouring of Nefermat . 29 

Early Hieroglyphs. 

46. Importance of epigraphy 

47. Natural signs . 

48. Architectural signs 

49. Weapons and tools 

50. Sceptres, ornaments, &c. 

51. Rope numerals, &c. . 


The Small Antiquities. 

52. Plate XXIX .... 34 

53. Plate XXX .... 35 


54. Plate XXXI .... 35 

55. Analyses by Dr. Glad- 

stone, F.R.S. ... 36 


(Plates XXXII-XXXVI.) 

The Inscriptions. 

By F. LI. Griffith. 

56. Architect's note . . . 37 

57. Mastaba inscriptions . . 37 

58. Statuette and ostracon . 40 

59. Graffiti of temple ... 40 


Varieties of Ancient Kohl. 

By Dr. A. Wiedemann. 

60. Names of eye paints . . 41 

61. Account of samples . . 42 

62. Galena powders ... 42 
6^. Antimony and other 

powders 43 

64. Conclusions .... 43 


Egyptian Colours. 

By W. J. Russell, Ph.D., F.R.S. 

65. Red and yellow of Kahun 

and Gurob .... 44 

66. Blue and green frits . . 45 
6y. Greco-Roman colours . 47 


The Coptic Papyrl 

By W. E. Crum. 

68. Manuscripts of Fayum . 48 

69. Theological texts . . 48 

70. Letters 49 

71. Accounts and lists . , 49 


I. After having explored and described the towns 
and products of the XVIIIth dynasty at Gurob, and 
Lthe Xllth dynasty at Kahun, I naturally turned my 
eyes to what seemed with reason to be the oldest 
dated site in Egypt, the cemetery of Medum, which 
was not far distant. Some time was lost before I 
could begin work, by the attempted imposition of 
new and onerous conditions ; but aftei- a good deal of 
trouble and discussion I had the satisfaction, thanks 
to Sir Evelyn Baring, of seeing reasonable terms 
established for scientific work in Egypt, distinct from 
the conditions for plundering merely for purposes of 
profit, which should indeed be wholly prevented. So 
vast an amount has been altogether lost, that the re- 
mainder should be rigidly guarded and reserved for 
scientific examination, from an archaeological and 
ethnologic point of view, rather than merely for 
finding inscriptions and bronzes. The present sys- 
tem of allowing native overseers -and others to plun- 
der tombs for their private benefit, without the 
publication of any results, is most deplorable ; and it 
has cost us the loss of all the information that might 
have been recorded from the cemeteries of Ekhmim, 
Siut, Mea, and innumerable other sites. Destruction 
is not the less to be deplored because it is done by 
legalised agents. Very few Europeans in Egypt, and 
still fewer natives, would think of spending the needful 
time to secure details before they are lost in working. 
To spend one to two hours cramped in a small hole, 
picking out the tiniest bones of a skeleton from a 
tomb, and noting its position and any peculiarities, is 
absolutely needful if we are to understand the details 
of the race whose works we are studying ; and such 
care has seldom, if ever, been given by excavators. 

I began by going over to my old quarters at 
Illahun to fetch my baggage, and engaged two or 
three dozen of my old workmen, who were all willing 

to go with me. They, and others of my older hands 
from near Medinet, used to walk over sixteen or 
eighteen miles with a sack of dried bread, work for 
ten or eleven days,' and then walk back for fresh 
supplies, thus returning every fortnight. These men 
and boys were as honest and pleasant fellows as I 
wish to see ; they camped in rough huts by my tent, 
and served as guards by night and workmen by day. 
I shall not forget the strange astonishment that it 
was to me when a visitor asked Who protected my 
things ? and If I could trust my people ? I never 
missed any property while I was there ; and even if 
treasures, such as a pocket knife, happened to be left 
outside derelict, no one disturbed them. The thorough 
kindly simplicity and good feeling of all the party 
made it a pleasure to be with them. Where the 
Egyptian is constantly misunderstood is by applying 
English standards to him. He has many points in 
which he is better and pleasanter than an English 
workman ; but he cannot stand long-continued 
temptation of any sort, nor being " given his head " 
in any way. He needs " bossing," and he feels the 
want of a " boss." When I was called away to Cairo, 
and left my men for a few days, with an ample supply 
of piece-work to go on with, I found that they had 
not the heart to do it when not looked after, although 
the loss was theirs. If constantly encouraged they 
will earn surprising amounts, by work so hard that 
any person would cry shame if they were forced to 
do it. To tempt such people by constantly giving 
them opportunities of stealing or cheating is extremely 
wrong; but by guarding against this, and letting 
them feel that they are always kept in hand and 
noticed, they prove admirable, and industrious workers. 
Of course so far as possible all my work was piece- 
work ; and though the rate was only from i to i 
piastre the cubic metre, or id. to i^d. the cubic yard, 
according to the hardness of the ground, yet they 
usually earned iSd?. to 2s. a day for a man and boy, 
double the best native wages ; 1 5 to 20 cubic yards 



was a common discharge for a couple. I also em- 
ployed many men from Medum and the villages near ; 
and some of them were splendid workers. One 
couple were nicknamed " The Fiends " ;"Handawi, the 
man, was always rampant for fresh ground, and slaved 
without intermission, and his lad ran to and fro the 
whole day, carrying baskets of stuff and stones piled 
on the top, on his back. Where the stuff required to 
be moved to a distance I used to keep the same rate 
for the metre, but allow the couple to bring a boy to 
help them, to whom I paid day wages in addition. 
These boys then were kept going by their patrons, 
and gave me no extra trouble ; two additional day 
boys were sometimes given to each couple of metre 
workers, where the stuff had to be carried perhaps 
loo feet distant and 20 feet up. Such a system works 
very easily, is little trouble, and costs less than any 

I left Illahun with a couple of camels and a gang 
of men and boys, and skirting the desert we walked 
eighteen miles down to Medum, which is about forty 
miles south of Cairo ; there I looked round for a 
camping-place, where I could be quiet, and not hear 
the men talking at night. For this end I settled into 
Nefermat's sculptured chamber for my bedroom, and 
pitched a tent in the front of it for stores and cooking. 
Another tent served for a few of the men, and the 
rest made huts of the bricks of Nefermat, which had 
been thrown out by the hundred in past excavations 
there ; these, roofed with durra straw, served them for 
dwellings all the winter, although they found it a cold 
harbour without any doors, in frosty nights. I had 
not long been there when I had the pleasure of Mr. 
F. Bliss coming to join me for three or four weeks, to 
examine all the details of excavations, before he took 
up the continuation of my work at Lachish for the 
Palestine Exploration Fund. I had also several 
visitors, as Medum was within the range of the private 
tourist. Since it was needful to close all the tombs 
the visitors will find less to look at, and probably drop 
it out of their programmes. 

2. After clearing the known tombs, there was a 
lengthy business in copying them. This could not 
in most parts be done by wet squeezes, as there was 
colour on some of the stone, still left after the wet 
squeezes which had been most shamelessly taken 
before. I therefore took dry squeezes : holding up a 
strip of paper, three feet long and one foot wide, 
against the stone with the left hand, I outlined all 
the sculpture with my fingers, creasing the paper over 
the edge if it was incised, or scoring the outline with 

my nail if it was in relief. To do this accurately 
needs care ; as, if the paper is marked to the outline 
of the carving the figure will be too wide by the 
amount of curvature. The mark must be made 
therefore on the rounding of .the edge, guiding the 
nail by holding thumb and finger together. Having 
obtained a creased outline the sheet was laid on a 
board and drawn over by freehand, following the 
marks and interpreting them by looking at the sculp- 
ture. In this way, during six or seven weeks, about 
1200 square feet of sculpture was copied in full-size 
drawing, and notes of the colours marked. After 
returning to England these slips were matched to- 
gether, marked, turned over and joined by strips of 
adhesive, so as to form large rolls, equal to the height 
of the chambers, loj feet, and about 3 to 5 feet wide. 
The outlines were then all inked in, and the sheets 
were ready to be photo-lithographed. The joining 
took over a week, and the inking took a month, 
beside some kindly done by Mr. Spurrell. 

3. After the drawing I worked at most of the 
mastabas and the tomb pits that I could find. But I 
found that the old people had had their pickings first, 
and had plundered every tomb that was worth clear- 
ing. The full knowledge of the arrangements that 
was shewn by the spoilers, is evidence that the attacks 
were made soon after the closing of the tombs, and 
while the secrets of their plans were still known. 
Veiy possibly some boy employed in the building 
went there fifty years later, when the place was left 
deserted, and made use of his memory. In one 
mastaba were three pits. I first found the central one ; 
it contained absolutely nothing but clean rock chips 
in the pit and chamber. The next we found contained 
only some bowls and flints in the bottom of the pit. 
Both of these were left untouched till I went there ; 
but the third pit, with masonry below it, had been all 
plundered and wrecked, so that we could not clear it 
in safety ; this doubtless was the sepulchre. In the 
next mastaba I cleared a large pit, which was un- 
touched ; with great excitement we found the stone 
trap-door ; Mr. Eraser, who was there at the time, 
helped me to shift it out with crowbars, and cut out 
the stone filling of the passage, only to find that a 
tunnel had been made from the outside straight to 
the chamber, which was entered by breaking a hole 
in the floor. Two mastabas, however, I did not 
succeed in entering ; and it was evident, by the 
various forced tunnels, that other people had been 
equally unsuccessful. Possibly no one has yet found 
those chambers. The common tombs repaid our 


labour best, not from objects of workmanship, but 
from the many complete skeletons of that remote age 
which I was able thus to collect. 

4. The main piece of work was on the pyramid. 
I went there with the idea of finding, if possible, the 
temple, as I had found the temple of Illahun. It 
was soon clear that there was no temple on the 
desert edge, distant from the pyramid ; and I tried 
pits in the concreted rubbish within the peribolus on 
the east side, but reached nothing but rock, although 
I afterwards found that I was within a few feet of 
the temple door. I hesitated at attacking the great 
mass of rubbish piled up against the east face of the 
pyramid. I walked about it, and speculated on it for 
several days, while we were clearing the corners for 
my survey. At last I determined to broach it ; but 
it was needful to begin on a large scale, as I knew 
that I had to descend through over forty feet of more 
or less loose stuff ; and a wide hole was needed at 
the bottom, 'to search for the temple. So I marked 
out a space 70 feet long and 40 feet wide up the 
slope of rubbish ; and, dividing that into strips or 
stages, I allotted a stage 7 feet wide and 35 feet 
long to each man and boy. Thus each party de- 
livered the stuff out at the ends of my great hole, the 
six north stages delivering at the north end, and the 
south stages at the other. So far we started fairly, 
and the measuring of the work was simple. But soon 
we found large blocks of casing and other stones from 
the pyramid, all lying at the angle of rest in the 
sloping strata of rubbish ; and as we descended these 
had to be taken out of the way. Then, almost with- 
out being able to help it, one big block and then 
another (which the men detested as hindering their 
piece-work) slipped off the stage and went bowling 
down all the other stages, breaking up their regularity. 
Then the trouble came, whose block was whose ? Of 
course I gave some extra pay for moving out big 
blocks, but they were a terrible nuisance, and 
dangerous as well. Two or three times I had to 
break off all piece-work, and set the whole gang of 
twenty-four or more to work together at clearing out 
blocks, arranging all the shifting myself Though we 
had dozens of stones so heavy that they needed 
every man we could get around them to stir them, 
and tedious crowbar work, yet we happily escaped 
any accidents beyond scrapes, and a few trapped 
fingers and toes. As we descended a fresh trouble 
arose ; for the rubbish was much weaker in some 
parts and could hardly sustain the large blocks left 
in the steep side of the hole. There were some great 

pieces which I expected to see drop any hour, but 
which yet held up to the last. 

Of course in cutting a deep hole in a slope the 
stuff soon has to be lifted out, and so before long it 
was impracticable to shoot it at the end of the 
excavation. Then I opened two trenches, leading 
east from the two sides of the work, which carried off 
the stuff till we were low down ; and finally one deep 
cut in the middle took out the bottom stuff and left 
the hole of a T form. Thus by distributing the stuff 
from different periods of the work at different parts, 
I avoided raising it up a mountain of rubbish at the 
last, and left the 6000 cubic yards so spread as to be 
the least inconvenience. Whenever a large hole is 
made one of the least obvious — but most necessary — 
points to consider is, where the stuff shall go ; it 
cannot be annihilated, and before beginning work it 
is well to fully imagine as one looks at the ground 
what the hole will be like, and how that amount of 
stuff had better be placed. 

At last we reached the bottom, and there found the 
sloping .casing of the pyramid, and a wall at right 
angles to it, and the side of a great stele ; our hole 
was a success, but it only shewed where a building 
existed by revealing one corner of it. We then had 
to enlarge the pit at the north end, and before we had 
gone far with that a fresh trouble arose. We had on 
each side an imminent wall of loose rubbish ; on the 
west it was as high as a London house — sand and 
■ chips and big blocks — all sloping in stratification so 
as to slide off into our hole, from a height of forty or 
fifty feet. I gave a moderate slope to this face, about 
I in 4, which sufficed to hold it up so long as the 
weather was tranquil. But soon a raging gale arose ; 
I was in the pit some time that day, and shall never 
forget the horrid confusion. The air was so full of 
whirling sand that one's eyes had to be kept longer 
shut than open ; whenever the battering of sand on 
one's face ceased for a moment, and it was possible to 
look about, the clouds of dust almost hid the sides of 
the cutting. And as the sand was blown out from 
the face of the work, the stones came rattling down 
in avalanches. The width of the place was enough 
to enable the men to stand in safety on one side 
when a rush came, but constant attention was needful. 
At last, in the midst of a grand howl of the gale, we 
instinctively looked up through the murky brown 
cloud in which we stood, and saw nearly all the 
higher side of our pit coming over in a block ; one 
man only was in front of me ; I saw him dash back 
past me just in time, and knew that they were all 

B 2 


safe behind me, when smash came five feet thickness 
of stones and sand over the greater part of our work. 
So completely did this disorganise affairs, that it 
took us a week to get it cleared out, interrupted by- 
continual lesser falls. The scour of the wind con- 
stantly undermined the face, and burrowed deeper 
and deeper into the slightest hollows, until the top 
overhung, and the face was grooved out, leaving tall 
slender pillars of loose stuff. 

5. After some three weeks of work, from having 
first seen the building, we again reached bottom, and 
cleared out the whole of the courtyard. To my 
surprise there seemed to be no entrance to it, but a 
continuous wall around it. But as we cleared down 
we soon found a doorway, and I crawled into the 
perfect chambers, which had not been touched since 
the XVIIIth dynasty. To find under all that depth 
of ruin such a complete building was an entire sur- 
prise ; all I had looked or hoped for was to trace 
some foundations, and find some fragments ; but here 
nothing seemed to have been disturbed or injured 
throughout the whole length of recorded history. 
Here stands the oldest known building in the world 
as perfect, except for slight weathering, as it was 
when even Egypt was bare of monuments. I 
eagerly looked over the 'inscriptions on the walls, 
which I saw were of Tahutmes III. and Amenhotep 
III. ; but my satisfaction was complete when I 
caught sight of Seneferu's name, and knew that at 
last there was monumental evidence for an attribu- 
tion, which had always seemed very probable, but 
which had been as yet without proof 

The next work was to cut another pit to reach the 
outer door of the temple ; and very glad I was that I 
had not put all the stuff in front of my great pit, but 
had so widely spread it ; for thus there was not much 
to move a second time to reach the temple front. I 
measured it all completely, photographed it, drew it, 
copied all the inscriptions, and then reburied it as 
thoroughly as could be desired. To have left it open 
would have been to ensure its destruction in six months. 
The pyramid of Medum is the quarry of all the 
neighbourhood. Large piles of stone are to be seen 
in the villages, all taken from there. The desert is 
furrowed with cart tracks in all directions from the 
pyramid. Every decent Medumi that dies has a stone 
tomb built of pyramid casing. Expert stone-splitters 
live there, who know how — with only a hammer — to 
split up a 6-ton casing block into long bars of stone, 
as I have seen them do in a quarter of an hour. The 

great open quarries on the pyramid side are the sign 
and the scandal of the present order of things. It is 
only the vast mass of the pyramid that has saved the 
tombs of Medum from utter ruin, and already one 
block of the sculptured lintel of Rahotep's tomb is 
gone. What wonder when no official ever goes to the 
place to inspect? and even if a native guard was 
there he would be as capable of selling the stone as 
of selling the antiquities in his charge. The very 
tombs of Gizeh are sold for stone to the. villagers by 
the overseer there. 

6. Besides clearing the temple I opened up each 
corner of the pyramid, and found the original casing 
remaining, even the actual corner casing-stone in one 
place. This gave the material for an accurate survey 
of it. I also traced out the peribolus wall all around 
it, and the causeway which led up to it from the 
plain, and now runs down under water-level. I also 
exhaustively cleared the inside of the pyramid to see 
if there were any other chambers or passages. For 
though it was opened nine years ago by Professor 
Maspero, the accumulation of stone and rubbish in it 
had never been turned over. Every part of the rock, 
or the flooring, of all the chambers and horizontal 
passages has now been examined. It is most curious 
to see the original great logs of wood wedged in at 
the sides of the shaft in the pyramid ; still sound and 
firm, although saturated with salt. Four months' 
work at Medum has cleared up most of the questions 
about it, and recorded its sculptures beyond reach of 
future loss ; though there are still some interesting 
matters awaiting a future explorer in that place. 

7. The same friends as before have continued to 
help forward this work in various ways. The costs of 
labour and transport have again been defrayed by 
Mr. Jesse Haworth and Mr. Martyn Kennard. Mr. 
Spurrell, I have to thank for continual help with head 
and hands in the details of the collections, and in 
special researches of his own. Mr. Griffith has now, 
as always, rendered every assistance in respect to the 
inscriptions. And I am indebted to Brugsch Pasha 
for favouring me with a first and hurried translation 
of the graffiti, when I had the copies in Cairo. Two 
chapters here are products of my previous work ; the 
examination of the specimens of Kohl, for the account 
of which I am obliged to Prof. Wiedemann ; and the 
description of the Coptic papyri, which Mr. Crum has 
taken in hand. I only now hope that my coming 
season in Egypt may be as productive of historic 
results as those which have gone before. 





8. The pyramid of Medum is peculiar in construc- 
tion, and unlike all others, excepting the small 
pyramid of Rikkeh, and the oblong step-pyramid of 
Sakkara. These three pyramids have been built 
cumulatively, that is to say in successive coats each 
of which bore a finished dressed face ; and further- 
more two of these pyramids, Medum and Rikkeh, 
have outer casings in one slope from top to base, like 
the pyramids of the usual type. The system by 
which the construction was carried on bears an evident 
analogy to the building of the great mastaba tombs 
in the cemetery of Medum. These tombs were rect- 
angular masses of brickwork, or of earth coated with 
brick, with faces sloping at about 75°, the mastaba 
angle differing from the usual pyramid angle of 5 1°. 
These wide, flat "mastabas," or "benches," were 
added to during the owner's life by coating them with 
one or two thick masses of brickwork all around, 
thereby hiding the sculptured chamber of offerings 
which contained ^the statue. And outside of these 
coats a courtyard was built opposite the chamber of 
offerings, where the worship of the deceased person 
took place. 

Such a system exactly agrees with what we see in 
the pyramid of Medum (see PL. II), only it was 
more fully carried out ; the coatings were seven in 
number, the original mass was carried upward and 
heightened as the circuit was increased, and lastly a 
general coat covered over all the steps which had 
resulted during the construction. The primal mastaba 
appears to have been loo cubits square and 25 or 30 
cubits high : covering over the sepulchral chamber, 
which was reached by a passage just above the 
ground level, on the north face of the mastaba. 

The outer casing was largely removed at an early 
date, probably by Ramessu II ; in the middle ages it 
is described as having five steps, of which the two 
lower have been removed in modern times ; thus 
leaving the high towering mass isolated in the manner 
which is familiar to all Nile travellers. Various mis- 
conceptions have been written about it by passing 
visitors, who supposed it to be a tower, and to have 
had decorations at the places where the steps formerly 
joined it ; but such remarks need not detain us. 
The needful point to observe is that though this 
pyramid was built cumulatively, it is no warrant for 
assuming, as Lepsius did, that all other pyramids were 

constructed similarly ; on the contrary no evidence of 
such cumulative building occurs except in the three 
pyramids which I have named, and there is positive 
evidence that this was not the method followed in the 
later cases. In short it was a transitional form, when 
the mastaba had been greatly enlarged, and first 
began to be smoothed over into a pyramidal outline : 
that type once arrived at, there was no need for subse- 
quent kings to retain the mastaba form internally, 
and Khufu and his successors laid out their pyramids 
of full size at first, and built them up at 5 1° and not 
at 75°. 

9. The excavations that were needful for making a 
survey of the pyramid itself were not very large ; but 
the discovery of the temple on the east side was a 
heavy undertaking. At each corner of the pyramid 
cuttings were made through 10 or 12 feet of rubbish, 
to reach the original pavement and casing stones. 
At the S.E. corner the lowest course of casing remains 
entire ; at the other corners it has been partly re- 
moved, and is only found at 20 or 30 feet distant 
along the sides. Hence at these corners two separate 
points were determined in the survey, and the corner 
completed by calculation afterwards. The peribolus 
wall also required some excavation all along its course, 
to trace the remaining foundations ; for the masonry 
wall itself only exists where its lowest course is left 
buried, in the deep mass of chips south of the pyramid. 
The temple excavations are described in other pages. 

Having uncovered the ancient points of construction 
an accurate survey was needed. As I only had a 
4-inch theodolite at the place, I relied more on lineal 
measure. Four stations were fixed at such a distance 
from each corner as to be visible one from the other ; 
these were just outside the peribolus wall, except at 
the north-east, where the big mastaba No. 17 inter- 
feres with the flatness of the ground, and the station 
was nearer in. Then the distances of these stations 
were measured by a steel tape, suspended and strained 
by 10 lbs. tension. The points of support were 
nearly in a level line, and usually at about 30 feet 
apart ; so the whole amount of corrections was in 
general only -i inch for differences of level, and -^ inch 
for catenary curves, on a 100-foot length. Tempera- 
ture was also noted. Probably the results are correct 
within -2 or -3 inch (=2° or 3° cent.) on each base 
measured. The theodolite therefore (which was read 
to 10") was only trusted for the angles of the corners, 
for the short distances from the corners to the casing, 
and for the observations up to the upper steps. The 
casing points were observed on from a distance by 


stretching a string across each excavation, and hang- 
ing a plumb-line down the hole to over the edge of 
the casing ; the plumb-line was then observed from 
the survey corner, and from a station along one side 
of the measured lines. By measuring each angle, as 
well as each side, of the survey square, four indepen- 
dent checks were made ; as, given four sides and one 
angle, the other three are mere results. In this way 
the values for the other three corners were calculated 
from each corner in succession, and the mean of the 
four values of the angle for each corner was adopted. 
The average error of the theodolite measurement was 
24" on each corner, equivalent to about i inch on the 
length of the sides : hence the lineal measures are 
much the more accurate. The azimuth was deter- 
mined by Polaris, with Canopus as a time .star, taking 
three observations. Having stated the methods 
adopted, we will now describe the results. But as it 
is not likely that any one else will want to proceed on 
the lines of this survey, I shall omit here all reference 
to the purely trigonometrical stations, the nature of 
the station marks (which were only permanent, and 
buried, at the four corners of the survey) and the co- 
ordinates of the calculation of the results, which were 
entirely worked out on a rigorous basis. 

10. The base of the pyramid is built on a pave- 
ment, which underlies the casing at every part ex- 
amined, of both sides and corners. The pavement 
consists of three courses at the N.W., where the ground 
was rather low. These courses are not thick, being 
I7'6, 14, and 14 inches ; and they project not far 
from the casing edge, being 22, 38, and 48 inches out, 
respectively. The base of the finished casing of the 
pyramid was on the 

N. 5677-2, E. 5694-5, S. 5681-3, W. 5675-0 
and the azimuth of the sides was 

N. 35' 25", E. 20' 35", S. 23' 36", W. 18' 3". 
Hence the average length of the base is 5682-0 with 
an average variation of 6-2 inches : the average error 
of squareness at the corners is 10' 1 1" : and its average 
azimuth is 24' 25" W. of N., or 359° 35' 35" in absolute 

The slope of the face cannot be well measured, as it 
is only seen for a few courses at the door, and over 
a very weathered surface discovered on excavating 
the temple. The latter was so far bad that I did not 
measure it. At the door the angle was taken as 
52° 4', 51° 54', 51° 49', the first being worse than the 
other two : but on combining the triangulation of the 
door with that of the base the result would yield 51° 26'. 
As the latter is dependent on the straightness of the 

N. base from corner to corner, which was not un- 
covered or seen, the directly measured angle is much 
better : I conclude therefore that it was within a few 
minutes of 51° 52'. Hence the height was 3,619 

This angle, it will be seen, is just that of the Great 
Pyramid of Gizeh, which was built next after this 
pyramid. And we have therefore to consider if any 
of the theories concerning the size of that are eluci- 
dated by this. Now the most simple and promising 
theory is that the ratio of 7 : 44, for that of a radius 
to a circumference, is embodied by the Great Pyramid 
height being 7 X 40 cubits and its circuit 44 x 40 
cubits ; in short, that it was built 7 and 44 times a 
modulus of 40 cubits. The angle being the same 
here at Medum the ratio 7 : 44 will of course hold 
good ; the question is if a simple modulus was used 
here also. The base being 5682-0 inches, it is 7 x 25 
cubits in height, and 44 x 25 cubits in circuit ; the 
cubit required being 20 "66 ± -01 inches, or varying 
from 20-63 to 20-70 according to different sides, which 
is just the usual range of varieties of the Egyptian 
cubit. We see then that there is an exactly analogous 
theory for the dimensions of Medum to that for the 
Great Pyramid ; in each the approximate ratio 7 : 44 
is adopted, as referring to the radius and circle ; in 
the earlier pyramid a modulus of 25 cubits is multi- 
plied by these numbers to fix the dimensions ; in the 
later pyramid a modulus of 40 cubits is used. 

II. Turning next to the inner surfaces of masonry, 
• of the successive coats of construction, seven such 
faces may be seen on the concentric masses (Pl. II). 
We cannot at present see any surface within the top- 
most face visible, as the top of the pyramid is inac- 
cessible : but there is some reason for supposing 
another surface to exist inside, as, granting that the 
step would be of the same width as that now existing 
at the top, the dimension of the central mass at the 
base, or the primitive mastaba, would be just 100 
cubits either way. Such a face is therefore shewn in 
broken line on the section (Pl. II), and is here 
included in brackets in the list of faces. The angles 
of the faces are variable ; the upper part of the high 
face is at 73° 20', the lower part 73° 54' ; and the faces 
now built over, from the outside through to the 
passage, are at 74° 40' and 75°. The tendency there- 
fore seems to be for the lower and outer parts to be 
steeper than the higher. As an average I have used 
73° 20' for reducing the sloping dimensions of the top 
steps; and 74° 21', or 100 on 28, for projecting the 
slopes down to the base. The steps at the top were 


observed with the theodolite on the highest complete 
corners, and the number of courses broken at each 
corner was examined with a telescope, so as to make 
allowance for the lost parts. The heights of the 
courses were noted angularly by the theodolite. The 
outer coats were measured across where they are 
broken and accessible, at the top of the rubbish 
mounds. The results are that the mean sizes of the 
successive square coats at the pyramid base are as 
follow : 

(2063), 2368, 2673, 3081, 3478, 3879, 4267, 4667 inches, 
but of course small differences may easily occur 
owing to the uncertainty of the angle at which these 
faces are built. The thickness horizontally of the 
coats which are implied above are, in (152^), 152^, 
204, 198-i., 200i, 194, 200, inches, out. And the 
level of the finished steps above the base are : 
top (?), broken, 2576, 2165, 1755, 1246.?, 
978, 571 inches, base. 
The steps vary somewhat on different sides. The 
top step varies from 2221 to 2236 horizontally from 
the outer base ; the second step varies from 1 890 to 
1937. The lengths of the top edge of the top step 
vary 12 12 to 123 1, and azimuth from + 8' to -34'; 
the second step is 1832 to 1905, at +42' to -70'. The 
thickness of the coats also varies, each ranging over 
8 or 10 inches, in the parts where they can be directly 
measured. It is evident therefore that no great 
accuracy was aimed at in this internal construction, 
although it was finished off with finely-smoothed 
faces, well jointed, and of beautiful flatness. 

The thickness of the courses varies, but is never 
very much. The average at the base, by the temple, 
is 16 inches ; in the- rough part above the rubbish 
20-3 ; in different parts of the smooth faces 23*6 to 
17 -8 ; in the upper face 21 to 16 ; and in the top 19. 
The regular system of building was with alternate 
courses of headers and stretchers, the same as in the 
brickwork of the Medum mastabas. These blocks, 
where accessible, average 32 wide and 58 long. The 
inner masonry, within each of the finished faces is 
very rough ; no attempt has been made to fit the 
blocks, except by selecting chance adjustments ; the 
courses are approximately equal, but a coarse mortar 
is largely used to fill the hollows that are left. The 
stone also is very inferior, brittle, splitting, stained, 
and weathering badly ; the outer faces, on the contrary, 
are of excellent stone, weathering to a rich brown, 
and seldom crumbling away, and the smoothness of 
the faces and of the jointing is very fine. 

A line of levelling was carried all round the 

pyramid, with a discrepancy of only \ inch on the 
2000 feet length, or 2". The resulting levels of the 
pavement surfaces at the corners are : 
N.E.-f--s, S.E.+ -2, S.W.+2-0, N.W.-2-8 inches. 
So in this respect the accuracy is comparable with 
that of the Great Pyramid, although in size and 
squareness it is far inferior to that. On the stones 
may be seen red spots of paint left from the testing 
by a reddened trial-plate, as on the stones of Khufu 
at Gizeh. 

12. The peribolus wall around the pyramid has 
been entirely destroyed, excepting the foundation 
stones in most parts, and the lower course of wall in 
the deep chip rubbish on the south side. In some 
parts even the foundations are gone, and their place 
can only be traced by the hole being filled with sand, 
against the chip and stone-dust bed which formed a 
pavement outside of it. Where the wall remains it is 
57 inches thick. Its height was probably 70 or 80 
inches, judging by a block of the causeway v/all 
described further on. The outer dimensions of the 
wall were : 

N. 8561 at -30' ; E. 9307,-f-i'4:; 
S. 8479,-27'!; W. 9300,-29'. 

It will be seen (PL. Ill) that the E. and W. sides 
are practically equal, and the N. and S. azimuths 
therefore alike. But the N. side is longer than the S., 
and the E. azimuth differs from that of the other 
three sides ; an error has therefore been made by the 
builders, the N. being too long, or the S. too short. 

The relation of this enclosure to the pyramid is best 
stated by the distance of the outside of the wall from 
the middle of the pyramid base on each side ; this 
distance is yit^ i^^"^ 

on N. side 2203 ; E. 1420 ; S. 1393 ; W. 1420. 
The design for the breadth of the peribolus is pretty 
clear, as 1420 "4 inches is a quarter of the base of the 
pyramid, so that the enclosure was half as wide again 
as the pyramid. The space on the south may have 
been intended to be equal to that at the two sides. 
But for the extra space on the north side — about 780 
inches more than the other sides — I fail to see any 
reasonable hypothesis. The peribolus entrance was 
led up to by a causeway ; both of which we shall 
notice in connection with the temple. 

A puzzling question is raised by certain groups of 
pitted holes, on the faces of the inner coats of the 
pyramid. They are in square groups of five each 
way, exactly like a modern siga board. And they 
are so high up that they cannot have been reached 
for some centuries. If they were ever used for 


gaming-boards, like the many siga boards cut by- 
Arabs, it could only be when the stones were lying 
with the face horizontal, before they were built in. 
Such is the view of Virchow, and of Reiss {Verh. 
Berl. Anthrop. Gesell. i6 Nov. 1889). On the other 
hand no instance of this game is known before Arab 
times ; every old game-board that I have found 
being 3 X 10 square. And it is most unlikely that 
workmen would be allowed to so disfigure the outer 
faces of finely-jointed masonry blocks before being 
built. I must conclude therefore that they were cut 
in Arab times, though it is hard to suppose that any 
game could be played on a face sloping at 74°. 

13. The temple adjoins the east face of the pyra- 
mid. It is in the middle of the side, its axis being 
2 • I inch south of the mid line of the face ; and this 
is to be noted, as the east face is' 16 • 7 longer than the 
mean of the other sides, so that the site for the 
temple was found by bisecting the face, and not by 
remeasuring an average half base along it ; also it 
shews that the extra length of this face is not an 
error of the present surveying. It is built quite 
independently of the pyramid, not being bonded or 
joined to it, but merely built against it. The outer 
mass is plain and rectangular ; excepting a slight 
batter of the outer sides, amounting to 5*5 slope 
inward on 90 height ; and a rounding off of the top 
edge of the roof in a segmental curve, leaving a slight 
edge along the front. There is no other ornament, 
either of moulding, bevelling, or panelling. The whole 
building is absolutely perfect, roof, stelae, and altar, 
all but small chips or flaking due to weathering. We 
cleared it over the courtyard, the interior, the roof of 
the chamber, and the front from the south corner to 
the door ; but the rest of the front, the north side, 
and the roof of the passage were not examined. No 
stone but limestone is used in the whole building and 

The temple (PL. IV) consists of a passage, entered 
at the south end of the face, then a chamber, and 
lastly the courtyard adjoining the side of the pyramid 
and containing two steles, and an altar between them. 
The door is 67-5 from the foot of the south wall, 
and is 34*0 wide at top, 34*4 in middle, and flaked 
below : it is 77*0 high, with a lintel 13 "7 thick over 
it, below the roof slabs. In the passage the door- 
way is 7"7 to 41 '8 from the south end ; the passage 
is 48'0 and 48*5 at south, 45 "2 at north, 236*4 east, 
237*2 west. The exit door is 6*2 to 40*3 from the 
north end. The wall between it and the chamber is 
42*5 thick at north side of door, 37*4 at top of south, 

41 "O at base. In the chamber the east side has been 
dressed down too much all over the upper part, and 
left undressed below. The system of building being 
to lay the stones in the rough, and dress out the faces 
afterwards ; so that each stone turned the corner 
somewhat when finished, as in the granite temple of 
Gizeh. The chamber entrance is 5 • 5 to 39 • 2 from north 
end ; the sides at north 75 • S, south 75-6, east 237 -4, 
west 237*2 at top, 23s below: the exit door to the 
courtyard is 86"8 to I47'8 from north, or 61 'O wide. 
The E. wall of the court is 40 • o to 43 • o thick on north, 
39-4 to 42-0 on south, being thickest at the base. 

14. The courtyard is 237-0 long, and 92-0 wide to 
the foot of the pyramid ; the side walls run on 
horizontally over the slope of the pyramid face, and 
so are "174 long on the top. The thickness of the 
side walls is 56, and of the front of the temple 58. 
Their top course is rounded in a flattish segment of a 
circle. The steles are flat-sided, with spherically 
curved tops, rounding over toward the faces as well 
as to the edges. The breadths of the north stele are, 
at base 40 Vi ^t top W. 40-5, E. 41 -o; of the south 
stele, base 41 • 5, top £.40-8 to 41 • 5, edge rounded : 
the thicknesses of the north at base N. 20 • 3, S. 20 • 6, 
at top N. and S. 20-3 : the height is 155 '3 to the 
beginning of the curve, 165 "O to the top. The size 
therefore was i cubit thick, 2 cubits wide, and 8 
cubits high, the top -i- cubit being rounded. The sides 
are dressed very fair and flat, and are set up well in a 
line, not \ inch out of parallel. The distances from 
the sides of the court are 38*8 at north, 41 '4 at south, 
leaving 74*6 between them. The distances from the 
east side of the court are 16 '3 at north of north stele, 
19*0 at north of south stele. These steles stand upon 
low bases with sloping sides ; these bases project 9 to 
10 inches from the steles, and are 2* 8 high, so they 
are analogous to the bases beneath obelisks repre- 
sented in early hieroglyphs, and reinforce the idea 
that the Mastabat Faraun at Sakkara may have been 
the base of an obelisk. 

Between the two steles stands the altar of limestone, 
without any sculpture or inscription. It is 25*0 wide, 
and 54 'O long ; the thickness is 10 "7, but somewhat 
sloping and flaked ; the spout is 14 long and 1 1 wide, 
with a hollow in it, and a groove irregularly deepened 
out on one side, as if due to corrosion of pouring out 
drink-offerings of sour wine and beer. The east side 
is in the east plane of the steles ; and the north is 
10' 5, and south 10 '7 inches to the steles. 

The courses of the building run the same through- 
out. At the front the footing is 17 thick, resting on 



desert pebble and sand, which also filled the space 
between the footings in the passage and chamber ; the 
courses are 16-4, 32-8, 47-5, 60-9, 77-0, 90-7, 1047 
above the base. In the S.W. corner of the chamber 
the footing is 17, and the courses i6-2, 32-5, 48-2, 
6o* 8, 75 -o, and 90 -o. In the north side of the court- 
yard, which is paved all over, they are 16-3, 33*2, 
48-2, 61-5, 75-0, and 90-0. While the pyramid 
courses are 17-0, 38-0, 56-2, 70-3, 79-0. The stone 
is left rough in many parts ; the excess left on in the 
chamber has been noted ; and the roof edge at the 
courtyard is all roughly in excess. There is not the 
fine finish or exactness here which meet us in the 
later buildings of the IVth dynasty ; but, as in the 
pyramid, the workmanship is solid and sound, though 
not refined. 

15. The peribolus wall has a doorway (Pls. Ill, 
IV, VI), in the line of the entrance of the temple 
carried out parallel to the causeway ; that is, 3-i-° 

,,jy/ askew to the peribolus wall. The doorway is 62 wide, 
at 5207 to 5269 from the north end of the peribolus ; 
and the causeway at its head is 118 wide, 5202 to 
5320 from the north of the peribolus. The space 
between the peribolus and the causeway is 180 wide. 
The thickness of the causeway walls appears to have 
been 66 at the base, according to the south side, but 
on the north the foundation is 75 wide. A fallen 
stone of the top coping of the causeway remains ; it 
is of the whole thickness of the wall, and shews a 
width of 51 "7 at 10*4 under the top, and 49*7 at the 
top of the face, surmounted by a circular curve 10 "i 
high ; this shews a batter of i in 10 on the sides ; and 
hence, if the base was 66 wide, the wall was 90 inches 
high over all outside. But the causeway was some- 
what sunk below the ground level in parts, being flat, 
and independent of the contour of the ground. Its 
general direction is plainly ruled by its lying in the 
bottom of a small valley in the edge of the desert ; it 
runs down to the plain, and may go some distance 
further, but my men were stopped by the water. If 
this construction were tracked down to its original 
end it would give us a valuable datum for the rise of 
the Nile bed during some six thousand years ; but 
such a research would need good pumps. 

16, The inscriptions in the temple are none of 
them due to the builders. The earliest is a scratched 
graffito (XXXII, i) on the north wall of the chamber : 
this is so exactly the colour of the stone, and so 
uniformly. covered with a slight salt coat that I did 
not observe it until making a final search. It is 
certainly far earlier in its condition than the two 

scratched graffiti (XXXII, 2, 3) on the east wall of 
the chamber. As the latter appear to be of the Xllth 
dynasty, by their style closely resembling the Assuan 
graffiti of that age, it seems probable that the earlier 
one is of the Vlth dynasty or before that. All three 
of these graffiti are within the light from the court- 
yard, and shew that that was open till after the 
Xllth dynasty. The other graffiti are all ink-written, 
facing the front entrance to the temple on the west 
wall of the passage, and some on the sides of the 
doorway. They are all of the XVII Ith dynasty : and 
the reader should refer to their translations by Mr. 
Griffith in Chap. VI. On the front of the temple are 
three very rude graffiti of ships by the door. 

The temple contained about two feet of blown 
sand. It was evident that the courtyard had been 
choked between the Xllth and XVIIIth dynasties, as ■■ 
all the later graffiti were within the light of the outer 
door, and pieces of burnt papyrus plant strewed the 
chamber floor, having been taken in by persons 
wishing to see the blocked doorway into the court- 
yard, which we found much smoked. In this sand in 
the passage was an interment of the XVIIIth dynasty, 
with some beads, two small bronze lance heads, and 
some pomegranates and nuts. This burial explains i 
why I found the outer doorway carefully blocked with 
pieces of stone : evidently the passage was looked on 
as a convenient sepulchre, and the door was blocked, 
and covered with rubbish. And this heaping-over of 
it probably finished the hiding up of the temple, 
which had been nearly covered before by blown sand 
and fallen pieces of stone from the pyramid. Thus 
it was mainly out of sight when the pyramid was 
attacked for stone, probably by Ramessu II, and it 
was thus saved from being destroyed. Certainly the 
pyramid was largely pillaged in the XlXth or XXth 
dynasties, as the burials of the XXIInd dynasty in 
the rubbish are high above the temple level, some 20 
to 30 feet up. 

In the sand in the passage were a few objects, 
probably of the IVth dynasty. Four stone hawks ^ 
and one in blue glazed pottery (XXIX, 1-5) seem to 
refer to the worship of " the Horus Snefru," as he is 
called in the inscriptions here. The most interesting 
piece is the base of a statuette in hard black serpen- 
tine (XXIX, 6) : several curious points of the in- 
scription will be seen in the chapter on inscriptions, 
here we need only note that it is dedicated to the 
gods of a town called Tat-Snefru by a woman named 
Snefru-Khati. The lower part of a basalt stand 
(PL. XXIX, 7) was also found, in the courtyard. 




We see then that a statuette, probably almost 
contemporary with Snefru, was placed here, referring 
to a person and a place named after him, shewing 
that he was the genius of the neighbourhood. Next, 
not later probably than the Vlth dynasty, a visitor 
scrawls up " Thrice good is the name of king Snefru." 
And in the XVIIIth dynasty, we find that his festival 
was held here, and all visitors recognised this as his 
pyramid and temple. Such a chain of evidence gives 
the final precision to the general inference that the 
cemetery is of the IVth dynasty, judging by the 
nature of the pottery found in it. 

17. On the south side of the pyramid a strange 
excavation was partly examined. I observed when 
first walking round the pyramid that there was a 
stretch of high ground between the western part of 
the south face and the peribolus. As it was formed 
of limestone chips I concluded that some great 
building had stood here, within the peribolus. Ac- 
cordingly I began sinking trenches in the site, and 
found some large blocks of stone, below the level of 
the peribolus pavement. As the blocks were too 
large to move in a trench, I then made a wide 
square clearance, piling up the blocks around it when 
they were too large to move out or to break. The 
depth was about 25 feet, through hard concreted chip 
and lime-dust. I thus found the side of a square pit 
in the rock, within which a building had been con- 
structed : the building must have been of considerable 
height, judging by the great mass of chips resulting 
from its destruction, and also covering a fair area, 
although I only saw about 15 feet of the pit in 
each direction. The pit is about eight feet deep in 
the rock, which is here about six feet under the pave- 
ment ; and the floor of the pit is flat dressed in the 
rock. A tunnel roughly cut in the rock leads south- 
ward from the pit ; but is broken away above, and 
filled in, at 24 feet from the pit. What the purpose 
of such a building can have been is doubtful. No 
temple is known on the south of a pyramid ; and 
neither for that, nor for a small pyramid, would such 
a rock pit be needed. That it was not solely a sub- 
terranean structure is proved by the great depth of 
resulting chips. It would be desirable to clear it 
completely ; but the depth and hardness of the 
material, and the absence of a single stone left in situ 
so far as I went, dissuaded me from working further. 

18. One detail of the pyramid's exterior, perhaps 
connected with the position of its chamber, was noticed 
before I began to excavate for the temple, and in- 
fluenced my excavation. On the eastern faces of the 

upper two steps a slight groove or recessing may be 
seen, especially when the sun is near noon (see PL. II). 
Judging from below the recess is about an inch deep 
on the face ; and by angular measurements the upper 
groove is 2 1 1 inches wide, and the lower is 195. They 
are not exactly one behind the other ; the distances 
from the north base being 2991 to 3202 inches 
for the upper, and 3020 to 3215 for the lower. 
They are clearly excentric on the faces, and as 
the temple is centred on the face they cannot be 
connected in any way with that. But • the sepul- 
chral chamber is about 2918 to 3 151 south of the 
north base, which is not far from the position of the 
grooves, about 60 inches different to the upper groove. 
As the sculptured chamber with the ka statues is 
often placed in mastabas east of, or before, the 
sepulchral pit, and as the facade of that chamber 
always forms a recess on the face, it is not impossible 
that this shallow recess is a signal of the position of 
the ka chamber, thus carried upward in the building, 
and repeated on the outer coat, as we find the false 
door repeated approximately (though never exactly) 
in front of the inner chamber. If a ka chamber exists 
— and it would be strange if the king had not a better 
provision in this way than his subjects in their mas- 
tabas — it is doubtless on the east face of the innermost 
mass of the mastaba form, the first block built. 

19. Having now described the exterior we proceed 
to the passages and chambers. The entrance was 
uncovered, and the passages partly cleared, by Prof 
Maspero's workmen in 1882. The floor of the en- 
trance passage begins at 574 "8 inches horizontally 
from the middle of the north base, and 720 • 7 above the 
pavement at that point (see PL. II). The passage is 
62 • 5 inches high, at right angles, being built of three 
courses 21 'O, 20 'O, and 21 "5 high: the floor is 20 "2 
thick, and the Hntel 25-8 thick. The width is 32-2 
at top, and 34*3 at base. The entrance was appa- 
rently closed by wedges of stone. The block filling 
the lower course was probably keyed into that of the ^^^ 
middle course : this one was secured by the sides of 
the passage being cut away sloping inward, so that 
the block could wedge tight ; the upper course block ^ 
was tapered in thickness so that it wedged between j. 
the middle block and the roof Further in, at 326*3 
measured along the floor, there is on each wall a 
joint rising at 75°, the face of the outermost mastaba 
coat ; the remains of a doorway fastening may be 
seen in this coat ; the roof is higher by 7*3, for a 
length of 48 • 2 ; and on each side are two D-shaped 
holes, 14 "6 from the outer face, and 12 •7-16 -7, and 



55 7-59 -6, below the roof. These probably held 
metal bars, against which rested a slab of stone filling 
the doorway, until the outer coat was finished, and 
the entrance wedged up. At S 16 • i from the entrance 
is the face of another mastaba coat, also at 75°, on 
either wall. Below this no joints could be found that 
were not square with the passage. The whole passage 
is built of masonry, and never enters the rock, con- 
trary to some accounts. But the salt has so violently 
scaled the surface of the stone, that it is exfoliated 
into a circular cavernous form, and it is only by 
referring to the joints that the plane of the roof can 
be observed. The upper part of the passage, and 
particularly the region of the outer casing coat, is of 
excellent stone, clean and smooth. The tool marks 
can be plainly seen — short, small adze strokes. And 
the system may be traced whereby an excess was 
left on the edge of the face until after the stone was 
built in, when it was dressed down so as to insure a 
smooth surface across the joint. The joint thick- 
nesses are very fine, much under yi^ of an inch. 

At a length of 2247 • 6 inches the sloping passage 
ends, and the angle of it, observed from the entrance 
to more than half-way down, is 28° 48'. Hence the 
end is 2544*4 from the north base horizontally, and 
362 • I below the base; But the floor itself was not 
seen, owing to the large amount of exfoliated sheets 
of stone which more than half fill the passage. 

20. In the horizontal passages and chambers which 
follow this, I have had the whole floor cleared and 
thoroughly examined, a portion at a time, to make 
certain that no other passages exist below those. 
The roof drops 2' 9, and then proceeds horizontally 
in one plane until reaching the well which ascends to 
the sepulchre. The chambers here are 69*5 high. 
First there is a widening of the passage on the east, 
immediately it becomes horizontal ; thus forming a 
chamber 82 ■ 7 wide (instead of the passage width of 
30 • 7), and 103 ' 3 long. Then for a short way of 2 1 • 5 
the passage is normal, and afterwards widens on the 
west into a chamber 83 "6 wide, and 103*4 to 104 "2 
long. These ^chambers are all lined with masonry. 
Then a passage, still in the same line, goes south for 
146 inches to the well, making a length of 374 in all. 
The floor of this last piece is broken up, leaving rough 
rock, with a trench or groove along the middle of it ; 
and the lower part of the well is rough rock, the upper 
part being lined with stone, which is supported at the 
sides by large beams or wall plates of wood, still in 
place, and still sound, though saturated with salt. 
The floor of the sepulchre is also of rock, covered with 

a thin paving which is now mostly torn up. Hence 
the rock rises to about 1 30 below the pavement, and the 
lower passages must be built in a trench in the rock. 
The well in the lower part is 36* 3 on E., and 30" 5 
on N. ; while above it is 46 on E., and 40-|- on N. Its 
height, from the roof of the passage to the pavement 
of the sepulchre, is 174 inches. The well rises in the 
extreme N.E. corner of the sepulchre floor, which is 
233 on the W. and 104 on the S. side. The E. and 
W. sides of the chamber close together rapidly up- 
wards in' a series of overlappings, formed by the pro- 
jection of successive courses of stone. This is a 
standard form in the mastaba chambers of this place, 
and is seen in the gallery of Khufu's pyramid. 
These overlappings are at 41, 63, 86, 107, 131, 155 ?, 
180, 204?, and top 225? above the pavement of 
the chamber ; the widths of the chamber being below 
the laps 104, and then 91, 80, 64, 53, 36?, 20?, 4?, 
the top space being irregular, and the stones almost 
touching in parts. That this really was the sepulchre 
is shewn by our finding thrown down the well the 
pieces from a wooden sarcophagus, of the early plain 
style, which had been very violently wrenched open 
and destroyed. The position of the chamber is 2918 
to 31 5 1 from the N. base, or ']6 to 309 south of the 
middle of the pyramid. The azimuth of the passage 
being 21' 33" west of north, it is very nearly that of the 
pyramid sides, the deviation being about 2 inches : 
hence the chamber sides would be 42 E. and 62 W. of 
the middle of the pyramid. The pavement of the 
chamber is 119 under, and the top 106 over, the north 



21. The earliest mastaba of importance appea'rs to 
be that at the north-east of the pyramid, No. 17 Plan, 
Pls. I, VI. As it is the largest but one, and the 
simplest in construction, we will consider it first. Its 
outside was built of large crude bricks, the body of it 
is formed of clean chips of limestone, evidently the 
waste from the building of the pyramid : it is therefore 
most probably contemporary with the pyramid. It 
differs in internal arrangement from the other mas- 
tabas ; and it has no sculptured chamber, opening to 
the outside, but only a plain stone" facade opposite 
the sepulchre, on the -east side. It also differs from 
others in having been built entire at once, and without 
any subsequent coating or addition. 

c 2 



The outer faces slope at the characteristic angle of 
mastabas, 76°, or an angle of 4 vertical on i horizontal. 
And the walls do not rest on a level foundation, but 
are carried down to reach a rock bed. This was found 
very markedly on the north side. Seeing that there 
was a mass of clean chips outside that face, I thought 
that it might cover an entrance ; we therefore began 
clearing it out, but found the face slope down without 
any opening until the rock was reached about 20 feet 
below the ground level. While examining the N.E. 
corner, in clearing it for the survey, a very curious 
wall was found outside it, and similar walls were 
found on searching at the other comers. , As remarked, 
the faces slope down to the rock, and hence it would 
be very troublesome to lay out the building with 
sloping faces on an irregular level, so as to bring it to 
the dimensions required at the ground level. • 

22. The laying out was therefore most carefully 
arranged, on a perfectly true principle. Outside of the 
corners vertical walls were built from the rock up to 
the ground level of the intended mastaba (see the 
four "corner walls" on the plan PL. VIII). These 
walls are of L shape, running in front of both faces at 
each corner ; they are of crude brick, plastered, and 
whitewashed, to shew up the construction lines. 
Levelling was then carried around the site, aiid all 
the inner faces of the walls were divided by horizontal 
lines into spaces of a cubit high (see PL. VIII), the 
deep wall at the N.W. having as many as nine cubit 
levels still marked on it. Vertical lines were then 
drawn on the walls, in the planes of the ground lines 
of the intended faces ; e.g. on the two northern pieces 
of wall, at N.E. and N.W. corners, the vertical hnes 
were 2065 apart, the intended breadth of the N. face at 
the ground level. Then from the intersection of these 
vertical lines with the ground level, sloping lines were 
drawn down outwards at the intended angle of the face. 
Thul at each end of the face was a slanting line 
defining its plane ; and it was only needful to place 
the eye on one line and sight the brickwork in a line 
with the line at the other end, to know that it was in 
the intended plane. Such was evidently the principle, 
of which the evidences remain at each comer. But 
for some reason a second sloping line was added out- 
side the first, and the building was thickened out to 
that. It is impossible to suppose that the ground 
level was at the intersection of the outer line with the 
vertical, though possibly that level was marked on 
the mastaba side now destroyed : and it is equally 
impossible not to regard the vertical lines as the in- 
* tended dimension of the mastaba, as the breadth is 

exactly 100, and the length 200, cubits. So we can 
only suppose that the mastaba face was built one 
brick thicker than at first intended. 

The construction lines, vertical and horizontal, and 
the inscriptions referring to them are all in red. The 
working lines are in black. All the broad lines were 
marked by two narrow edges, filled in between by 
brush-work. The faces of the mastaba are exactly in 
the plane of the outer edge of the outer line ; so thus 
the wide line could be easily seen from corner to 
corner, while the work could be formed with precision 
to its outer edge. 

Turning now to the details of each corner, at the 
N.E. the cubit Hnes are 20-5 apart, and "3 thick; the 
black lines are 3 • 2 wide on the north, and 2 • 4 on the 
east; the red vertical is 3*2 on north, and 2*6 on 
east. The mastaba faces differ from the outer edges 
of the black lines by being • 3 inside on the E., and 
I on 200 flatter angle on the N. The wall is 17*6 
thick ; it was somewhat broken down anciently, as 
the clean mass of stone chips overlies the broken top 
of the wall ; and it seems as if the bricks had been 
carried off, leaving the plastering projecting alone. 
This corner is in brilliant condition of colouring. 

The S.E. corner wall is somewhat decayed by 
damp, and the colour a good deal injured, but the 
same system is quite clear. The red vertical on the 
east wall has been altered, being re-drawn at i • 6 
further out ; the black lines evidently belong to the 
later line. The black lines vary from i • 9 to 2 • 6 
wide, and the red are 2 • i and 2 • 3. 

The S.W. corner is very much decayed by rain ; the 
red cubit lines are mostly effaced ; the S. red vertical 
appears to have been altered like the line in the S.E. 
corner ; and on the west wall no trace of a red vertical 
can be determined, only a patch of red which by its 
position may be part of the vertical, but which looks 
on the spot more like part of a red triangle. The 
corner of the walls is not continuous, each wall 
standing separately. The black lines are 2*4 wide. 

The N.W. corner is far the most important. The 
rock bed was here 21 feet below the ground, and a 
high wall was therefore needed to set out the con- 
stmction lines. The perspective view of this corner is 
shewn on PL. VIII, supposing the mastaba corner to 
be complete at some height above the ground, in 
order to render it clearer; in reality the mastaba 
outer face is all broken away above the ground. This 
corner bears inscriptions relating to the levelling. In 
the fifth cubit space below the ground level we read 
at each side, " cubits five under of the neferu." The 



technical word neferu for ground level does not seem 
to be yet known ; but its meaning is clear, and it 
refers to the "finished" or "completed" surface. 
Similarly in the eighth cubit space is " cubits eight 
under of the neferu" The walls are not quite true ; the 
west wall projects forward below, thus reducing the 
breadth of the north wall ; and the north wall re- 
cedes somewhat at the top part, thus increasing the 
width of the west wall ; hence the crossing corner 
lines in the diagram. The levelling is marked in 
certain parts particularly by a red triangle, a sort of 
bench-mark which is well designed, and may be 
seen in other Egyptian work. The black lines vary 
slightly in width, but the average is 2*4 for the inner 
and I • 6 for the outer lines ; the red verticals are 2 • 5 
wide below, and 2-2 above. The level lines were 
drawn independently on the walls, and differ • i or ■ 2 
at the corner ; they are about • 2 wide. 

23. From these construction lines we have of course 
a good evidence of the cubit. It is the usual royal 
Egyptian cubit of 20 "6 inches. The heights of the 
cubit spaces are changed on the walls by the compres- 
sion of the brickwork, and the plaster is buckled off the 
wall in parts by its not being compressed in the same 
manner. The lower parts shew more compression 
than the upper, and the mean of all is 20 •36, varying 
from 20 "O to 20" 5. But, as we have already men- 
tioned, the angle of slope is 4 on i, and therefore the 
black lines extend i of a cubit further from the red 
at every space. Hence there is another set of cubit 
values, given horizontally, which are independent of 
the vertical compression. There is no doubt but 
that they were measured out from the vertical, and 
probably the outer edges of the red and black lines 
are the more correct parts to observe. The distances 
measured are, on the west wall 20 ■ 5, 30* 6, 41*2, 5 1 • 5 ; 
and on the north wall 20*3, 30 "8, 41 "i, 46-4, and 
58*0. This last is clearly excessive, but the mean 
cubit value from the eight other measures is 20 • 54 
inches. Even this is probably somewhat reduced by 
the contraction of the brick and plaster in very slow 
drying, as I have found in a tomb the gesso coat of 
fresco work much buckled off the brjck and mud 
backing owing to the contraction behind. 

The best data of all are the dimensions of the 
mastaba shewn by the distances of the red verticals 
apart. Owing to the very disturbed state of the 
ground I could only measure this trigonometrically, 
and owing to the distance of the stations observed 
this is not a certain result within a few inches. 
It yields, however, between the outer edges of the 

red verticals N., 2065 ; E,, 412 1 ; S., 2063 ; W., 
4,124; and hence a mean cubit value of 20 '627 ± 
•007 inches, which is very closely that fixed 
by the most accurate datum in Khufu's pyramid, 
20 "620 + '005. The errors of squareness are con- 
siderable in this mastaba, the S.E. and N.W. corners 
being blunt, and the N.E. and S.W, corners sharp, by / 
about 24'. The average azimuth of the E. and W. 
sides, which were doubtless those fixed astronomically, 
is 12' W. of N., which is only half the divergence of 
the pyramid azimuth. 

The levels of the lines at the corners are related 
thus : the N.E. is 6- 5 high, S.E. is 4-7 low, S.W. is 2-8 
low, and N.W. is i • o high. There is then an average 
error of 3 • 7 inches, which is more than double the error 
made in levelling the longer base of the Medum pyra- 
mid. This shews that levelling was a matter which 
tried their skill ; the error here is i in 400, which might 
occur either by horizon observation, or by plumb line 
levelling. The bricks had all been splashed with 
yellow wash, when stacked before being used, in * 
order \o prevent any thefts ; just like the bricks of 
Hawara, and the coals in a modern depot. 

24. The interior of this mastaba has not been 
entered in modern times, and the position of the 
chamber is yet unknown. On the east face will be 
seen a stone facade on the plan, near the south end. 
This has a stone paving before it. It was opened up 
by Prof. Maspero's workmen in 1882, and left open ; 
consequently nearly all the stone has now been carried 
away. There was no sculpture, nor even a false door, 
on it. When I cleared it again I found at the north 
end of it a forced passage in the loose stone chips 
which form the body of the mastaba. This I had 
cleared out for some distance, when it turned down- 
wards, and could not well be worked in, owing to the 
looseness of all the material, and an old forced well 
which opened into it, and was full of loose stufe I 
had already scraped off the surface of the mastaba on 
the top all along the middle, down to clean firm chips, 
to search for a well, but in vain. I then sank a large 
square pit with winding stairway, in the axis of the 
mastaba, reaching from about the middle to near the 
latitude of the N. end of the facade. This pit we 
carried down to 48 feet under the top — a considerable 
work ; but we neither reached a central chamber, nor 
any passage leading to the chamber, as I had hoped 
we might have done. The old forced passage just 
mentioned was opened out north-west into the pit, 
for safety of working, and was then cleared of loose 
stuff, but it proved to have been abortive, as it ceased* 



in the mass of filling, without reaching the chamber. 
An indication of the chamber was however reached, 
as a brick wall was found in the bottom of my pit, 
with a plaster lining and a red line on it, facing south. 
This is doubtless part of a guiding wall for the work- 
ing lines of the chamber, like the walls at the corners 
of the mastaba. And this shews that the chamber is 
about behind the facade, and E. of the axis. A long 
sloping face of dry stone walling rises up above this 
brickwork, evidently the retaining wall to keep back 
the upper stuff while working, as this hole is about 20 
feet below the pavement. These details were only 
found in the last week of my work, and I had not 
time to undertake the heavy task of clearing away 
another large mass of stuff 48 feet deep to lay 
bare the chamber. Where the regularly built entrance 
is we cannot tell : there is no well on the top, nor any 
passage leading into the chamber from the north, as 
there is in other mastabas. 

The whole length of the east side was laid bare 
and examined in search of any other facade or false 
door, but it was all made of smoothly plastered brick. 
The outside of the brickwork had been a good deal 
weathered and destroyed down to the ground level, 
and it was then tunnelled into for graves in about the 
XXIInd dynasty ; the bodies were much swathed, 
occasionally in wooden coffins without inscriptions, 
but there were no objects with them, except once or 
twice a few beads. 

25. The largest mastaba of all, however, is No. 16 
(Pls. I, V), that of Nefermat and Atet. And first we 
should notice that in each of the great mastabas here 
there are two false doors, one near each end of the 
east face. In No. 8 they are only plastered, and 
plain ; in No. 9 the stonework is nearly destroyed ; 
but in Nos. 6 and 16 we see that the southern door 
has the master on the panel over it, while the 
northern of No. 6 has the mistress and master, and 
that of 16 has the mistress alone, while she is also 
represented as the main figure of the lintel. Thus it 
is clear that the northern door was that for the wor- 
ship of the mother, while the southern is that of the 

Hence to avoid confusion between the two false 
doors I have called the southern ones by the masters' 
names Nefermat and Rahotep, while the northern 
ones receive the mistresses' names Atet and Nefert. 
The illustrations therefore of Pls. IX-XV. are all of 
one mastaba, No. 6 ; and those of Pls. XVI-XXVII 
are all of one other. No. 16. The variation of the 
azimuth of the mastabas from that of the pyramid is 

verified by magnetic bearings, besides the survey ; the 
Denkmaler plan is therefore in error. 

The outer part of No. 16 is of small bricks, and it 
has been enlarged by a thick outer coat (see detail, 
Pl. VII). The body of it is of layers of Nile mud, 
poured in and left to harden before a fresh mass was 
applied. It is thus full of large cracks which extend 
far in all directions, which conduct currents of warm 
air out whenever excavations are made, and which 
form the home of serpents. The top is cOated with 
3 to 5 feet of gravel and sand, to sponge up the rain, 
and prevent it penetrating. 

I endeavoured to find the well, or entrance to the 
chamber, during some weeks of work. The top coat 
of gravel was removed, and the mud body tested from 
end to end all along the axis ; in the middle, around 
which Mariette's men had made some wide digging, I 
cut down to about 20 feet deep, and at the northern 
part in the axis, behind the north door, I also went 
down 20 feet deep. But only the same layers of Nile 
mud were found. I also cleared the N. end down to 
the ground, but found no trace of an entrance. When 
I cleared the south door I found a forced hole below 
it, which led into a forced passage ; this ran N.W., 
but ceased before reaching the axis ; it was quite 
empty and clear, 6 ft. high and 3 ft. wide, entirely cut 
in Nile mud without any sign of other material. At 
the north door a forced passage has been cut in the 
south end of the cross space ; but as it was choked, 
and I did not know, before I covered it over, with 
what skill the plunderers sometimes cut for the point 
of burial, I did not examine it. It became needful to 
cover this facade soon after I had cleared it, as the 
salt in the stone deliquesced with the dew, and was 
destroying the remaining colours. The burial cham- 
bers of this mastaba are therefore at present unknown. 

The false doors and ka chambers here are facades 
of stone, with a deep recess or chamber, closely alike, 
Atet's being slightly smaller. As to the sculpture, 
that will be noticed in the next chapter. The grand 
masses of which Nefermat's chamber is formed are 
striking. The back is all one block, over 156 inches 
high, 50 wide, and 41 thick, weighing therefore about 
8 tons ; the sides are 135 '5 high, iii average width, 
and 40*4 thick, about 20 tons each; and the top is 
all in one block across, 245 long, 97 deep back, and 
41 thick, about 33 tons. These shew a fine mastery 
in the art of using heavy blocks, and we must re- 
member that they are older than the pyramid of 
Khufu, and as early as an3^hing yet dated. The 
chamber thus formed was 95*5 long at top, 137*4 at 



base, varying according to the slope of the facade ; 
50-0 wide at back and 56-5 in front, and 135 '5 high 
to the under side of the drum, or roll across the top, 
or 155*7 to the space behind the drum. These di- 
mensions are not in even numbers of cubits, although 
the cubit was evidently used in the thickness of the 
lintel and sides, and depths of the drum. In the plan 
(Pl. VII) it will be seen how the front of the stone- 
work, or facade, is left exposed by a short cross 
passage, the other sides of which are composed of 
brick. It seems possible, as a sloping joint is seen on 
the ends of this passage, that the facade is in the true 
face of the first body of the mastaba. That W£ls 
coated over with brick, leaving the facade clear, and 
a passage to lead to it, which was lined with coloured 
frescoes. And then a second coat of brick formed 
the present outside, with a mere niche or false door 
to indicate the place for offerings. A court was also 
built in front of this, as we shall notice in the Rahotep 
mastaba, and this court is analogous to that of the 
pyramid. The fresco had nearly all perished, and 
I only saw the lower part of Atet, clad in panther's 
skin with striped border, and of Nefermat walking in 
front of her. The fresco over the lintel had fallen 
from the wall in early times, and part of it was found 
lying at the foot along with some wood that had 
formed the -roofing of this cross passage. The fresco 
is shewn on PL. XXVIII. 

There is a difference between the brick faces in all 
these mastabas. The inner is quite plain, white 
plastered ; while the outer is all in panels, or rather 
a row of small false doors, as an ornament. The 
angle also differs ; the outer is 82° 10' on the E. : the 
inner 69° 40' on E., and 72° 20' below, 70° o' above, on 
the N. The maximum height is 385 inches, probably 
10 cubits (412) originally ; and the outer coat rises to 
260, but is greatly denuded, so that it probably ex- 
tended to the top. The panelling on it is in groups ; 
wide niches of 2 cubits (41 ins.) are flanked by a 
narrower one on each side, and each such group is 
recessed from the general face, which has three narrow 
niches between the groups. By the measurements 
there must be 28 large niches in the length, and 1 5 in 
the width, of the mastaba. The inner body is 2474 
inches on N. and 2470 on S., 4550 on E., 4554 on W. 
Probably 120 cubits (of 20 -60) and 220 cubits (of 
20*69 inches). The outer coat varies in thickness, 
97 on W., loi on S., 115 on N., 119 on E., to the 
outermost parts, and to the continuous ground level 
step from which the niches rise. 

The chamber of Atet is of less grand blocks, the 

top being partly compound, and the dimensions being 
slightly less. The stone has moreover suffered greatly 
by scaling in the inside. The chamber is 47 4 wide 
at back, 47-5 at top of front, 46-2 at base: 106-5 
long at base : and 127 high to under side of drum, or 
148 "4 to roof. I should state that Mariette's plans of 
this and other mastabas are all in error by his con- 
founding the different coatings of the mastabas, and 
measuring between an inner face on one side and an 
outer on the other. This is certain, as I found that only 
one or other face had been discovered on different sides. 

26. No. 6 is very similar in design to the above. " 
The body of it is, however, all built of bricks through- 
out, and is now about 260 high, after most of the 
gravel top is gone. It will be seen on the plan that 
it was at first symmetrical ; 2060 long, and 1330 wide, 
with a central pit, two false doors on the E. face, and 
a second pit nearly behind the north door. The 
innermost S.W. corner inside this is a division in the 
mass of brickwork, which can hardly have any 
designed meaning, as it runs too close to the chamber. 
Afterwards it was enlarged on the south, and west, 
and a large addition was made on the north, marked 
as the " annex." Then a coat was run all round it, 
making it 3207 long and 1548 wide; and lastly a 
second coat 97 thick was added over the E. face, to 
further hide the chambers. The angle of the inner 
body is 'j6° 40', the ist coat 73^°, the outer coat 73^° 
on the E. face. 

The ka chamber (see Pl. VII) seems to have been 
designed after that of Nefermat, as the cross-passage, 
which was a mere accident of development there, has 
here become an intended feature, embodied in the 
masonry, and covered with carving. Within this 
chamber stood the statues of Rahotep and Nefert, 
now in the Ghizeh Museum ; and the doorway was 
entirely blocked with masonry cemented into place 
when Mariette's workmen found it, the chamber being 
intact. After cutting out the blocking, and removing 
the statues, and apparently taking wet squeezes from 
the coloured walls — thus ruining them — the doorway 
was earthed over by the discoverers. Never being 
inspected, some traveller chose to unearth it, soon 
before 1887, which date is written in the tomb ; and 
it has stood open since then, with the result that every 
face within reach is mutilated, most of the figures 
spoiled, and all the edges of the stone broken away. 
I completely reburied it. The sculpture on the side 
walls is much cut away to insert the blocking, and as 
similar cutting is seen on Nefermat's walls, it is 
almost certain that statues of him and Atet existed 



in his chamber. There is no such trace of blocking 
in Atet's chamber. 

In front of the false door which is in the outermost 
coat of brickwork a courtyard was built, which con- 
tains two steles bearing the inscription on PL. IX, 
which does not contain the name. Mariette's descrip- 
tion is erroneous in stating these to belong to another 
mastaba built against the E. face of Rahotep's, to 
which he gives the name of Ranefer as well as to 
No. 9 ; the coat of brickwork was mistaken for a fresh 
mastaba, in this, the only place where it was noticed. 
These steles are iS-oto i8-2 thick, 23-2 wide, and 
measuring from the roughened expansion at the base 
they are I03-|- high to the beginning of the curve and 
1 10 to the top, being formed like those of the pyramid 
temple (PL. IV). In the court of offerings were many 
small vases and saucers, like those found at the E. of 
the pyramid and before other tombs here. At the 
base of the niche of the false door at the back of the 
chamber is a pit cut in the stone, apparently intended 
for pouring down offerings. It is so rough that it 
may have had some fine stone edging now removed. 

The false door of Nefert is much less important, 
being merely a niche, with an unsculptured facade on 
either side of it. 

The central pit of the mastaba had been furiously 
searched for by Mariette's men ; they dug vast holes 
in the brick body, but never cleared the top ; and a 
trench of theirs cut away one side of the well, without 
their seeing it. In course of clearing their cutting to 
examine it my men found the well. It had stood 
open for ages, and was deeply furrowed with rain- 
fall on the sides. The west side was so rotten that I 
had to remove a coat of brick from it before clearing 
the pit. The section of the pit is given in PL. VII. 
The sides of the pit have a groove on each side to 
hold a great stone trap-door slid down to the bottom. 
Some way down we noticed a hollow on the south 
side, and opening it found a relieving chamber in the 
brickwork, at the ground-level. The short passage 
leading to this is curious for having two slight arches 
built in it (see PL. VII) to relieve the thrust of the 
overlapping sides. This true arch is important, as it 
carries the use of it back from the Xllth dynasty to 
the IVth. This chamber and passage we completely 
cleared out, but found nothing in them. 

Descending further we came on the top edge of the 
trap-door, which I did not then understand clearly ; 
but suspecting a chamber beneath the relieving 
chamber, I cleared the well thoroughly first, in order 
to be able to throw the rubbish from the chamber 

into it. In the well were 41 blocks of stone, averaging 
10x10x15 inches, about l cwt. each ; just as much 
as I or the men could conveniently lift and carry about. 
These lay loosely and had evidently been the filling 
in of the passage leading to the chamber. Beneath 
these was a copper adze in the dust 10 inches over the 
bottom (Pl. XXIX), which must therefore be as old 
as the first plunderers of the old kingdom ; and also 
the red pottery pan (XXXI, 21) with a spout, in which 
the men had mixed their plaster when closing the 
passage with the masonry ; for no one would mix 
plaster down there at a later time. The adze may 
also have belonged to them. 

Then clearing down between the shifted trap-door 
and the wall we found a mummy interred there later, 
and the passage leading to Rahotep's chamber. The 
chamber was quite empty, and all the traces found 
are some curved wooden bars of the inside of the 
coffin, and some scraps of fine gauze, like that after- 
wards found on Ranefer's mummy. The bottom of 
the sepulchre is rock, and there was about 20 inches 
depth of large flints, or very coarse desert gravel, 
laid on it, all of which we turned over. Perhaps this 
was a substratum to the floor, to serve as a sponge in 
case of water getting down the pit, so that the body 
might be preserved dry above it. Alas for the body ! 
— where is it ? 

A very curious point of construction is the wood- 
work employed. In the sides of the well are wooden 
beams occasionally ; just as wooden corner beams, 
and a tie running into the wall, are found on the N.W. 
corner of mastaba 17. And in the solid mass of 
brickwork of Rahotep's mastaba are logs of trees 
built in, nearly upright, and 8 or 10 feet long, to serve 
to bind the material. So ramifying are some of 
these that I thought at one time that a whole tree 
had been built around, but a log was wrenched out 
one night by the villagers, proving its isolation. 

The second well was doubtless that of Nefert, being 
behind her false door. It had been plundered 
anciently and a crater surrounded it. For I may say 
that Mariette's statement that there was no trace of 
any pits on these mastabas is quite wrong ; nearly all 
shew large pits of successful or unsuccessful plunderers, 
on the top. We cleared this pit to a great depth, 
over 40 feet below the crater top, as it is far deeper 
than Rahotep's. We reached the chamber, but un- 
luckily a snake dropped down, and the boys were 
afraid to work it, having seen him just under their 
feet one day. As it was plundered and had stood 
open for ages, and was in a dangerous condition at 



the sides, I then did not think it worth much more 
trouble to proceed with it. 

27. The annex is a very unaccountable piece of 
work. It is certainly contemporary with the other 
part, as the outer face is continuous ; but it is built 
on to the white-plastered N. end of the mastaba, and 
) is 830 long without the outer coat. On the E. side of 
it is a false doorway in the brickwork, white-plastered. 
Above this in the mass of brickwork were two parallel 
joints, marking where a space or passage had been 
left (see PL. V), and filled up later with brick. This 
I cleared out, and found it did not go lower than the 
top of the false door ; and on proceeding inwards the 
base of this filled space rose upward, and came to the 
top of the mastaba at about the middle. There was 
no sloping floor to it, only the parallel joints ended 
and there was continuous brickwork below them. 
The lower part of the space was filled with large 
broken pieces of stone. It certainly seemed as if it 
would lead to some unopened chambers. However I 
cleared it completely without any clue. I then cut 
about all over the top of the mastaba and searched 
the brickwork everywhere, to see if any filled up pit 
existed, looking for continuous joints in the brick, 
and cutting about 6 feet deep all along the axis. 
Nothing was found. I then sank a pit through the 
solid brickwork at the end of the blocked space, and 
in the axis. Nothing but brick was met with above 
ground. But a round pit was found in the ground, 
filled up with broken brick and mud. This seemed 
very promising. It went through the gravels for 1 3 
feet, then soft rock for 2 feet, and then into harder 
rock, where 3-^ feet further it ended, with a flat bottom, 
rough picked, 39 inches across. There was nothing 
but brick and rubbish in it, and the object of making 
such a pit for 1 8-i- feet seems inexplicable. Together 
with 25 feet of cutting through the mastaba, our pit 
was 43-^ feet deep. Beside the false door there was 
another curious indication ; above the false door, a 
little to the south was a hollow in the brickwork, 33 
inches deep, 29 E. to W., 70 N. to S., and 90 to 1 20 
inches inside the outer face of the brickwork. This 
hollow was full of sheep's and goats' bones, as if 
sacrificed and thrown in there. A similar hollow full 
of ox bones was found near the top of Ranefer's 
mastaba, a little N. of the N. doorway, about 10 feet 
back from the back of the doorway. It was there 
close to a sepulchral pit, and offering chamber ; yet 
in Rahotep's annex no trace of such a pit or chamber 
can be found. 

28. The only other tomb with remaining sculpture 

is what I have called Ranefer's, No. 9. The portions 
of figures, PL. XIV, do not yield any such name. 
But Mariette states " des deux chambres, du sud et 
du nord, il ne reste que des pans de mur demolis au 
milieu des quels nous avons pu recueillir le nom du 
personnage" Ra-nefer. His account is so very in- 
correct in other points that I do not feel much 
confidence in this statement ; but as much stone 
seems to have lately been removed from the south 
doorway, and only small chips are now left, whatever 
ground there was for the above attribution is now lost. 
The matter is complicated by Baedecker's account 
which describes, apparently as being here, a fine 
complete chamber with very curious and interesting 
sculptures, lassoing a bull, making of sarcophagi, and 
an altar of offerings, for Khent and his wife Mara. 
There is no possible site for such a tomb except at 
the lately destroyed stonework of No. 9. Yet Mari- 
ette says nothing whatever about it, and attributes 
this to Ra-nefer according to mere chips that were 
found. Probably this note about Khent and Mara 
has been entirely displaced in the guide book, and 
refers to elsewhere. 

The plan of the Ka chamber, or false door, at the 
N. of Ra-nefer will be seen, PL. VII : the coat of 
brick filled up the stone recess, and has another recess 
in it. The body of the mastaba is, at the base, 1 146 
on N., 1 161 on S., 2161 on E., 2084 on W. The coat 
of brick on it is 60 to 65 thick on the E. face. On 
clearing at the middle of the top we found the well, 
under about 5 feet of gravel. It was wide and quite 
intact, and took a fortnight to clear out. The stone 
trap door like Rahotep's was duly in position ; and 
we cut away the side walls and levered it carefully 
over so as to get behind it, and found a passage 
blocked with solid masonry. Mr. Eraser, who 
happened to be visiting me, cut this out with hammer 
and chisel ; when I went down I found only one stone 
in the way, I wriggled it out, and crawled into the 
hole, looked over into the intact (!) chamber, only to 
see a great black hole in the floor. It had been 
burgled by cutting a tunnel from the back of the 
south false door straight to the chamber, and breaking 
away the floor. The plan and section of the chamber 
is in Pl. VII. Ranefer's mummy lay hitched up 
against the west wall, on its left side, head north, 
facing east ; the head had been broken off by the 
violators, but carefully replaced, with a stone under it 
to support it in position. The wrappings on the body 
were also torn up. The mode of embalming was 
very singular. The body was shrunk, wrapped in a 




linen cloth, then modelled all over with resin, into the 
natural form and plumpness of the living figure, 
completely restoring all the fulness of the form, 
and this was wrapped round in a few turns of the 
finest gauze. The eyes and eyebrows were painted 
on the outer wrapping with green. The mummy is 
now in the Royal College of Surgeons. There was 
no trace of a coffin of either stone, or wood ; and 
certainly none could have been dragged out through 
the hole. Even if a wooden coffin had been broken 
up it is unlikely that no bits of it would remain. 

In the recess in the south end, similar to that in 
Rahotep's chamber, there were parts of the internal 
organs embalmed, forming lumps of resined matter 
wrapped round in linen, and fragments of such were 
in Rahotep's recess. Some insect had lived on it for 
generations, and the place was deep in the cast skins. 
There was no sign of these organs having been in jars 
or enclosures ; and it seems as if these recesses in the 
tombs were intended to lay the internal parts on 
after embalming, before the use of jars for such was 

On making further search a second well was found 
toward the north, doubtless that of the wife, like the 
well behind Nefert's door. This had been plundered 
anciently, and stood open for ages. We cleared it to 
the chamber, but that was so large and full of rubbish, 
that — as the well was rather dangerous and time 
short — I relinquished it. 

29. No. 8 is a smaller mastaba, without any coating 
at the ends, as it stood too close to the others to 
allow of it. The body is 1607 on E., 1610 on W., 
614 on N., 616 on S. In all these mastabas, although 
the actual base was not exposed at all corners I noted 
the levels of the points of the sloping face where the 
measures were taken, and compute the base length by 
knowing the angle of the face. The E. coat is 93 and 
109 thick, and the W. 116 thick. The angle is 80° 37' 
on W., 82° o' on E., 84° 34' in S. recess and 88° 18' at 
the back niche. The two false doors are both 
smoothly white-plastered without any decoration. 
In the southern door was a quantity of ox bones and 
large goats' skulls, placed there before the outer coat 
was built over it. 

On the top of the mastaba, which is 195 high, are 
three pits. None of these were found in Mariette's 
digging, although the eastern side was much destroyed 
then, and a small tunnel made which went into the 
middle pit. The diggers could not understand it, and 
left the place. On crawling in I saw that my head 
was in a filled up shaft, and dug for it on the top. It 

was difficult to find the top of the pit, as it was 
covered with a thick coat of brickwork. About 6 feet 
down the pit sides were clear, and it was found to be 
full of clean chips of the soft yellow rock through 
which the lower part is cut. It had evidently never 
been disturbed, and our hopes were high. ' After 30 
feet of brick sides we went through 9 feet of rock, and 
found a short passage leading into a chamber on the 
south side. But in neither chamber nor well was a 
trace of any body or buried object to be found, 
nothing but clean yellow rock chips. I carefully 
examined all the floor myself and' saw that there was 
no further cutting. 

We then tried to the N. of this, and found another 
well quite untouched. This was cleared down to the 
level of the top of the doorway on the south side, 
where objects were found. At this level a mat of 
rushes had been spread on loose rubbish thrown into 
the well. Upon this mat were laid 4 alabaster bowls 
all tied up in cloths (PL. XXIX, 15) ; a broken red 
dish (16) with 28 flint flakes in it tied up in a cloth, a 
bundle of 50 flint flakes tied up together, 22 more 
loose on the mat, and 7 at the mouth of the chamber, 
in all 107 : also pieces of thin wood on edge, all quite 
rotted, with some of the flints between them ; and a 
conical pot of rough hand make like XXXI, 15. 
Just at the mouth of the doorway was a block of Nile 
mud 7x9x8 inches with ribbed outside, ribbing 
about '4 inch wide ; a red pottery pan broken (Pl. 
XXIX, 16), three large shells (17) one containing 
some blue paint made of powdered Chessylite (car- 
bonate of copper), and copper needles, 1 1 or more 
thin, and mostly broken, and 3 thicker ones (18, 19). 
I then went into the chamber and examined it, but 
not a trace of a body was to be found in either the 
chamber or the well, nor any objects beyond those 
lying on the mat at the level of the top of the door- 
way. The pit is ^50 to 57 inches wide, passage 43 
wide and high, and chamber 97 on S., 84 on N., 73 on 
W., roughly cut by a pick i • 6 wide, leaving rounded 
sides. The flints (20-26) have been carefully sorted 
by Mr. Spurrell, and rejoined as far as possible to 
shew their original order and mode of manufacture. 
They were all struck from only two or three blocks of 
flint, but were all mingled together before being 
divided into different lots in the burial ; so that the 
lots as found have no significance. A similar flake 
to these was found in the debris which filled Raho- 
tep's well, so probably a similar deposit lay there 
before being exploited. 

On further trial a third well was found in the axis 



of this mastaba, and this had been opened anciently. 
We cleared it to near the bottom, but were then foiled 
by coming on large irregular blocks of stone lying in 
it. They were too heavy to raise, too large to turn 
out of the way, and we dare not break them up for 
fear of shaking down the very rotten and dangerous 
sides of the well. So risky was it that I abandoned 
the place, seeing that it had been all disturbed and 

30. We have seen how in these large mastabas the 
southern false door has a courtyard for offerings 
before it (see Nos. 6, 11, 16) ; but a different develop- 
ment took place also, the E. front of the mastaba 
being decorated by a row of small false doors, and 
at the south end of it a doorway leading into a 
chamber in which is a false door, as in Nos. 18, 22 ; 
or else a much larger false door at the south, as in 
No. 1 3. In all the tombs on the plans, a thick black 
outline indicates the foundation of a brick wall which 
is now destroyed. 

No. 22 has three small false doors (see PL. VII), 
which were painted, and next to these a chamber 
with a false door, also painted ; the E. side was made 
into a gallery by a wall in front of it, and the S. end 
of this gallery was walled off, across from the chamber 
door. This walled part retained fresco painting in a 
fairly intelligible state, and I made a coloured, copy 
of it which is here reproduced (XXVIII 5, 6, 7) and 
is described in chap. III. The closed room behind 
the chamber contained nothing ; probably the Ka 
statues stood here, before the tomb was broken up. 
The well had been plundered, and a burial of the 
XXII (?) dynasty placed in it. 

Mastaba 18 was evidently built later than many 
here. While No. 17 shews itself to be contemporary 
with the pyramid, by the whole mass being formed of 
clean stone chips, with occasional relics of the work- 
men. No. 1 8 is filled with whatever could be collected 
at a later date, much of it the small vases and saucers 
(XXX, 22 to 27) which were used for offerings in the 
IVth dynasty. Such a large quantity of these offerings 
would not Jje accumulated shortly, and as there is no 
heap of such by the pyramid otherwise it seems that 
this was btiilt after the special popular worship of 
Seneferu was past, and no more were subsequently 
accumulated. At the pyramids of Gizeh and Dahshur 
there are similar heaps of these offerings. And they 
also occur often in private tombs at Medum, as Nos. 
4, 6, 7, II, &c. The number of wells in this mastaba 
is not original. The primary wells are only the 5th 
from the N., and perhaps one nearest to the back of 

the chamber ; all the others are secondary, and can 
be distinguished by being cut through the mastaba, 
and lined with brick, leaving a belt of hard ground 
full of chips shewing between the mastaba and the 
rock. The chamber has a walled up niche or door- 
way on each side, but it had been so much dug into 
blindly by Mariette's men that I could not settle it. 
On each wall are small decorative niches, on N.N.E., 
I, on N.N.W. 3, on W.N.W. 3, on W.S.W. 4. These 
niches are only at 21 to 41 inches (i to 2 cubits) from 
the floor. Most of the wells we cleared out ; they 
had all been plundered, and contained a few burials 
in gaudy illiterate coffins of about the XXI Ind dyn- 
asty. The strange enclosure S. of the mastaba is of 
unknown use. The ground plan of it is quite com- 
plete, with parallel walls, expanding into a sort of 
doorway at the south end. Of course I thought we 
had the entrance to some subterranean place ; but all 
the north end was carefully cleared and examined, 
and solid rock found under a bed of concreted chips. 
31. The third principal type of tomb here is the 
mastaba with a central well, and sloping passage like 
a pyramid, leading to the chamber. The above 
ground part of these tombs has all disappeared : and 
seeing how solidly the brick mastabas have stood, 
still 20 to 30 feet high, we cannot suppose that these 
others were all swept away by denudation down to 
the last course or so of brickwork. It seems as if 
they must have been intentionally removed, not for 
mere destruction as there are no remains about them, 
but rather for bricks ; and this in a very systematic 
way, and not by mere chance builders. One is 
tempted to see in this the destructive hand of 
Ramessu II. ; but whoever did it the mastabas seem 
to have been removed by contract, so that one was 
completely cleared, before another was touched. A 
section of one of these passage mastabas is given on 
Pl. VII. The upper part of the well is brick-work. 
Then comes a breast-work on the south side, of large 
courses of stone. At the base a passage slopes down 
into the sepulchre, which has a recess for the em- 
balmed viscera as in Rahotep's and Ranefer's tombs. 
The group of destroyed tombs W. of the pyramid 
(see Pl. I) were probably all of this type, and only 
shew now as slight hollows in the desert. On trying 
to clear one of them a wide pit full' of sand is found, 
which requires a long struggle to empty it. Two of 
these I examined, and others I tested enough to see 
that they needed a lengthy clearance. Those I saw 
were plundered, and one had re-interments in wooden 
coffins of the XXIV-XXVIth dynasty without any- 

D 2 



thing but a few beads. The first tomb of this type 
which I opened was No. 1 5, and as the sand hole was 
very wide and deep, and the well destroyed, and I did 
not know the type, we had a very long affair with it. 
The chamber in this was not low and flat roofed, as 
in those W. of the pyramid, but was like the pyramid 
chamber, all over-lapping ; and at the exposed end 
one could see of what immense sheets of stone these 
overlapping roofs consist. A high wind and falls of 
sand blocked it up before I had made a plan of it. 
The chamber contained nothing, and the recess in it 
had been forced out at the end in search of other 
chambers. From trials that we made and appearances 
it seems that Nos. 14, 1 1, 3, 2, and i were all mastabas 
of this type. 

32. Having now described the three types of great 
mastabas we turn to the lesser tombs, which we will 
notice in order. No. 4 is a small mastaba much de- 
stroyed ; but the panel over the north false door had 
fallen in early times, and was found buried ; it shews 
a man named Heknen to have been interred here 
(Pl. XVI). The work is but rough, though rather 
different in style to the usual, and we may see in the 
turned up nose a sign of the aboriginal race, as I have 
noticed elsewhere. In front of this are the remains of 
another mastaba which produced nothing. 

No. 5 shews just the foundation of the wall, and in 
the pit we found the fragments of a fine alabaster 
disc table on a conical foot, and a diorite bowl ; these 
have been rejoined nearly entire, and are now at 
Manchester. The tomb had been plundered in early 
times, the large slab placed in front of the entrance 
to the chamber being left in place and a hole made 
above it. 

No. 7 is a small, well-finished mastaba with a wall 
along the front forming a passage, and a court in the 
middle of the wall. The false doors are however at 
the south end and in the middle. Part of the lintel 
of the south door was found, and is given in Pl. XVI. 
It was of the most delicate sculpture, but unhappily 
was broken into small chips by the action of salt, so 
that not a single sign could be removed. A copy and 
a photograph were taken, from which it is here drawn. 
It shews much the same titles as Rahotep, but there 
seems to have been a priesthood of Sebek in the 
Lake ; this, and the title " chief of the lake of the 
crocodile " on Nefermat's tomb, are the earliest men- 
tions of the Fayum. The body of this mastaba is all 
of stone chips, very likely from the masonry of 
Rahotep's tomb. No trace of a well could be found, 
although we trenched three lines all the length of it, 

down to solid rock. To the west of this is another 
mastaba of some height ; but the tomb had been 
plundered and left open anciently, like the other tomb 
pits around here. 

No. 10 is mostly denuded away ; the pit is a very 
wide space filled with sand, which we did not clear. 
No. 1 1 is a small mastaba ; pottery was found in the 
court of it. The large number of pits to the east of 
this were mostly separate, with a small brickwork top 
and sometimes a little niche in the east face of it. 
They are the poorest class of pit burial, and nearly all 
the interments were contracted. The chambers below 
were nearly all on the west side : a space usually 
about 60 inches long (37-66), 30 wide (28-38) and 28 
high (26-30) was cut in the soft clayey rock, the body 
was placed in it, and the entrance filled by a rude flat 
wall of crude bricks plastered with mud, which often 
projected into the pit as much as its own thickness. 
The pit was filled with earth. In one case the surface 
brickwork had a slit in it to the N. of the niche, open- 
ing into a small serdab, in which little vases stood. 

No. 12 is one side of a mastaba remaining, and two 
deep pits. No. 13 is a mastaba for general burials 
apparently, a sort of undertaker's speculation. The 
pits are very small, and in rows, as close together as 
may be. In the southernmost but one was a long 
wooden coffin, and a wooden head-rest with the body. 
Many of these common interments had been crushed 
by the fall of the rock roof or of the brick wall, and 
though I preserved every skeleton that was complete 
I could not obtain more than a dozen. 

Passing to the Southern cemetery, Pl. VI, the 
tombs 19, 20, 21 were greatly denuded, only just the 
foundations being left. The pits had all been plun- 
dered : those by 21 were peculiar, being long and 
narrow. No. 22 has been described already. The 
pit south of it had water over the entrance of the 
chamber. In one of these pits about 23 a loose stone 
sarcophagus was found, very rudely cut ; 75 inches 
long, 24-3 wide, 19 deep inside ; 7 to 8 inches thick, 
and 27 high outside : the head was to the north. 
No. 24 had water nearly to the roof of the chamber, 
and the floor could not be reached ; the pit had never 
been opened before. To the S.W. of it was a small 
pit in the mastaba, built of brick, but not descending 
into the rock : in this was a large quantity of pottery, 
two dozen bowls being obtained, nearly all broken 
(see Pl. XXX, i to 8) ; some of the bowls were 
wrap^jed in cloth, and some little clay models of jars 
(XXX, 7) were found. In No. 27 a similar deposit 
was found. There the northern pit was very shallow, 



not 3 feet deep ; but just to the S.W. of it was a 
smaller pit 30 X 32 inches, and 14 deep in the rock, 
with another deposit of bowls &c. (XXX, 9 to 13). 
And the southern pit, which is large and had been 
plundered, had a pit to the S.W. with bones in it. 
Thus it is evident that a custom existed of forming a 
small secondary pit into which the offerings were 
thrown ; the bowls were probably wrapped in cloth 
to retain the food placed in them, and much dark 
brown organic matter was found saturating this 
pottery. This helps to explain the pit with bowls in 
the mastaba No. 8. No. 29 are two small wells with 
brickwork blocks over them, bearing a small niche on 
the east face. 

33. We now turn to the burials in these tombs. 
Without giving the details of every skeleton found we 
may summarise them thus. Thirteen were fully re- 
corded in a contracted posture, while only one burial 
besides Ranefer was found extended, setting aside 
those of later age, which were secondary burials. 
This long burial was in a wooden coffin ; a wooden 
head rest with fluted stem lay by the head. Ranefer 
(see sect. 28) doubtless had valuable objects buried 
with him, as pieces of fine diorite and alabaster were 
found in the second well of that mastaba. On the 
other hand the contracted bodies very seldom have 
any accompanying objects, and they are never em- 
balmed. Of the 13, 12 lay on the left side, with the 
head N., and the face E. ; the knees were usually 
sharply bent, but the thighs were generally at right 
angles to the body ; though sometimes bent up close, 
so that the knee was only 6 inches from the vertebra. 
The right arm was usually in front ; but sometimes 
the hand was round the legs, sometimes up before the 
face. The left arm was generally under the body and 
legs, with the hand under the knees. The one burial 
in a different direction was with head W. face N. in a 
recess on the south of the well. But the motive of 
the placing in general was not to lay the body looking 
into the well, as in two other cases the chamber is to 
the south, but the face is turned to the east. This 
exceptional burial is also peculiar for having objects 
buried with it, a walking staff, and a head-rest ; it 
was placed in a box, which is the case as often as not. 
Only two of the contracted bodies had objects with 
them ; the one just named, and one with three small 
vases (like XXX, 22) by the head. That this contracted 
burial was not due to saving space, is seen by many 
tombs in which the body does not fill the chamber ; 
and in one case the body is doubled up 43 inches long 
in a coffin 66 long, leaving over a third of the coffin 

empty. And that the absence of objects with the 
bodies is not due to poverty is seen by the cost and 
care of the burials, in these tomb pits, which must 
have involved some weeks of work, and the frequent 
coffins of wood, which was always valuable ; while 
even the rough little vases, which might be made in 
hundreds in one day, are only found in a single case. 
We are therefore led to believe that there was a dis- 
tinct difference in beliefs between the peoplewho buried 
at full length, usually mummified, with funereal fur- 
niture, and the people who buried in a contracted 
form, facing the east with the head north, and without 
any objects. Such contracted burials have been 
found at Gizeh, both by Rhind, and also in one case 
in large jars at the Mena Hotel. Such a difference 
points to a difference of race, and we see that the 
contracted posture is only found in very early times. 
As it died out, and was clearly the custom of the 
poorer inhabitants, it probably belonged to the abori- 
ginal people before the invasion of dynastic Egyptians ; 
and the extended burial, with its accompanying 
beliefs, is due to the upper race who founded Egyptian 
history. Rhind notices that the Nasamones buried in 
a seated posture (Hdtus. IV. 190) ; but this does not 
seem to be a contracted lying position, though it 
might easily be connected with it. Clothing remained 
on some of the skeletons, and it was always plain 
linen, more than a mere kilt or waist cloth, and with 
a twisted linen girdle in one case. 

The coffins that were found, were mere square 
boxes ; only the one with extended body and a head- 
rest had a framed lid, with large end blocks, and 
boards inserted in a curve in the end. To shew how 
far regular the boxes are I give the dimensions of 
one; outside length 45*6, 45 "8; width 22*9, 23 'i ; 
inside length 42 • 8, 43 • 2 ; width 19*8, 19 "9 ; depth 19-1. 
Another was 31 "7 X I3"4 X I2-I. A baby was 
found in an oval basket. 

34. A very curious question is raised by the muti- 
lations of these bodies. It should be said that the 
skeletons lay exactly as placed ; sometimes the head 
had just rolled over, but usually every bone was in 
its articulation. There was no trace of any rats or 
other animals having got access to the tombs to dis- 
turb the bodies. And the skeletons noted were not 
crushed, and were fairly clear of any fallen materials. 
In one instance the whole left leg was missing from 
the knee : the end of the thigh bone came close to 
the brick wall, and not a trace of knee cap, leg bones, 
or foot was present. The end of the bone did not 
shew any change in the joint surface, so the amputa- 



tion must have been shortly before death. In another 
case the left hand appeared to have been cut off, the 
end of the arm bone was close to the front wall, 
without room for the hand, and the nearest wrist 
bones or others were four inches from it, and those 
appeared to belong to the right arm, while the left 
hand bones were under the elbow. The arm bones 
were not fallen or displaced : so the hand must have 
been severed in life. In another case, where the arms 
were both raised, and the hands placed together in 
front of the face, a wrist bone was found under the 
leg four inches below the knee, which was quite un- 
disturbed. And in the same body a toe bone was 
found under the pelvis. This is difficult to account 
for by any ordinary supposition. Another strange 
case was where three teeth were found by the pelvis, 
though I had lifted the skull as carefully as possible, 
as I always did, to avoid any chance of teeth dropping 
out. So both from the care in moving, from the 
skull not being lifted over the pelvis, and from the 
teeth not being on the top, we must suppose them to 
have been extracted before burial : possibly they had 
been swallowed. Four such curious displacements of 
bones in only 1 3 skeletons shews that much care must 
be spent in fixing the positions when such are found 
in future, in order to clear up the questions involved. 
All of these skeletons are now being prepared at the 
Royal College of Surgeons, and will there be studied, 
with reference to race, and also for the various dis- 
eases of the bones which are found in them. 



35. The plates IX to XXVII have all been exe- 
cuted by producing full-sized drawings, and from 
those reducing the present copies by photo-lithography. 
No doubt it would have been better on the one hand 
to have reproduced them here on a larger scale, in a 
few cases the details are too minute or the lines too 
fine, and a magnifier may be used with advantage to 
most of these plates ; on the other hand a smaller 
scale would have enabled a more connected view of 
the scheme of decoration. The advantages obtained 
here however seem to be the greatest. No wall is 
divided on to two plates, excepting in the case of the 
long lintels which spread across the whole length of a 
tomb facade ; these are separated from the rest of the 
facade, and each divided in two parts. Moreover in 

all cases the scale is the same throughout, so that the 
character of different parts can be compared. And 
the reduction of a foot to one inch enables the whole 
height of a tomb to appear on one plate. 

In the details the greatest accuracy has been aimed 
at. The individual expression of every face among 
the farm servants, and other small figures and hiero- 
glyphs, has been observed ; the exact shape of the 
head in all of these, the form of the hands, the relative 
lengths of the fingers, the number of lines and notches 
in a wig, and such points, were all attended to indi- 
vidually, and not merely done on a general system. 
In the forms of the hieroglyphs the same detail has 
been followed. For instance not only the number of 
waves in n, but also the slope and thickness, have 
been copied. If a sign is askew, misshapen, or tilted, 
it has been strictly so drawn. Nothing has been 
assumed or restored, except in a few cases of a notched 
or injured line. But although all injuries which 
destroy the outlines are observed, the forms have been 
traced as far as possible, and credited with completion 
wherever the original form was not irretrievably ]ost. 
Hence these copies look more complete than are the 
actual walls. In the many sad instances of disfigure- 
ment since Mariette's copies were made (which com- 
prise about S-i- plates out of the 19 here), it might at 
first seem pedantic not to fill in the parts now lost 
where those copies shew them. But it will soon be 
seen on comparing those former copies with the 
present, that no scientific value can be allowed to 
their details. The frequent misplacement of signs, 
omissions, and additions, even extending to inserting 
a figure and action which does not exist (see top of 
Pl. XXIII), and the inattention to the real forms of 
the figures and signs, would make any additions 
drawn from such a source a serious detriment to these 
present copies ; to say nothing of the doubt as to the 
very existence of the missing signs. Insertions of 
dubious character would throw a suspicion over the 
whole accuracy. To those students who may need 
the fullest materials a reference to Mariette's plates is 
not a weighty business ; while those who wish to 
place as much confidence as may be put in human 
work, can rely on these copies as being equivalent to 
the original sculptures, for all purposes of study that 
we can at present contemplate. No doubt but some 
inaccuracies may have crept in. They will probably 
be found in slight irregularities of the relative position 
of parts, due to copying on separate sheets ; and 
possibly a sign might have been omitted, certainly 
none have been added. 



36. The method of work was as follows. Sheets of 
thin paper, 3 feet high, i foot wide, were used. Be- 
ginning in a top corner, a sheet was held up by the 
left hand, and every line of sculpture was outlined by 
the right hand, a dry squeeze being thus taken. The 
soft part of the fingers was used or else the nails, 
according to the form. Then the squeezed sheet was 
laid on a drawing board, held just below the sculpture, 
and the outline was pencilled in, following the squeeze, 
but looking at the stone for all fine details and in- 
distinct points. Thus the accuracy of a cast, and the 
interpretation of an eye-copy were combined. A 
minute pencil cross on the stone, at the corners of the 
paper, insured keeping a correct register of the posi- 
tions of the sheets. Afterwards — in England — the 
sheets were joined into large rolls ; the outlines 
were all inked in of a suitable thickness, equivalent 
to -f^ of an inch on the reduced scale ; and photo- 
lithography did the rest of the business. For the 
coloured parts proof copies were coloured, and 
served for the chromo-lithographer to work by. The 
tints of the colours of each figure had been care- 
fully copied on a key sheet on the spot ; and samples 
of the inlayed colours of Nefermat's tomb, which had 
fallen out, and were found in the dust, served to give 
their tints. From much of the surface the colours had 
entirely vanished ; in Rahotep's tomb they had been 
washed away by wet squeezes being taken in a bar- 
barous way. In such parts the ground tint is made 
continuous over the figures. Wherever a trace could 
be found it is noted, but where a wide expanse of 
colour is without detail, as in faces without eyes, it 
means that the lesser parts have perished, leaving 
only a ground-work. In the case of wigs which shew 
details, they are left in outlines ; but in all cases the 
hair is black. So far as the colours remain enough to 
give a general combined effect, they are here repro- 
duced ; but it did not seem worth the printing to give 
only a few scattered touches in those plates where 
the colour had nearly all perished. I have dwelt the 
more on the details of these copies as I much hope 
that published copies of all fine work will be made in 
future on some such system. The very crude method 
of irregular and inexact hand-drawing, which has 
been hitherto usual — or even worse, the adopting the 
style of some period of Egyptian art, on stone or 
papyrus, and drawing everything in that manner— is 
responsible for the neglect of Egyptian epigraphy, and 
artistic detail of styles, and schools, and periods, 
which is so lamentable. No doubt this exact copying 
takes time. Altogether these plates have occupied 

me about four days each, beside the lithographer's 
work. But such time is well spent, if it opens out a 
new study of art and history. 

37. We will now turn to the separate plates and 
give some account of them ; while the inscriptions will 
be treated by Mr. Griffith in chap. VI. 

Pl. IX. The lintel over Rahotep's facade is divided 
here into two parts, on the upper half of Pls. IX and X. 
It is less finely carved than the interior, and in very 
low relief ; the separate panels of it are sunk so as to 
obtain the depth required for the signs. No traces of 
colour remain upon it. The wall of the tomb front 
below it Is quite plain. The last block of the lintel has 
been removed in late years ; and Mariette's copy shews 
the remainder of the inscription to have been nearly 
the same as on the " south side of the recess," Pl. XII, 
ending with the name of Rahotep. The wider panel, 
first on Pl. IX, is over the doorway. The south side 
of the passage is all in relief, as is the rest of this 
tomb ; it has been defaced near the door, by cutting 
away the surface to allow of fitting in the closing 
blocks. We here see Rahotep and Nefert standing 
watching the chase in the desert, while below — in the 
lower lands — is the ox led forward, and indicated by 
three tethers or hobbles formed of a loop of rope 
passing through two holes in a piece of wood. It 
seems to be used here as a determination for the place 
for tame animals, in contrast to the wild ones above. 

Pl. X. Here, on the opposite side of the passage, 
Rahotep and Nefert behold their sons snaring birds ; 
and below the fishers coming to shore with the ropes. 
The titles above contain some of the most important 
forms of signs ; the column an, and the columns sup- 
porting a roof, with a central pillar aa, in the sign Aed. 

Pl. XI. This comprises the whole of the wall, 
through which one enters the chamber ; and the 
inscription on the drum over the door is here turned 
round to appear in the doorway. Rahotep is standing 
beholding the boat building : this part is in excellent 
condition, excepting a large flake which has come off, 
carrying the head and arm of a carpenter. Below 
Rahotep are scenes of servants, a cattle-herd, two 
slaughterers, and bearers of offerings of wine and of 
sweet palm beer. On the other side are the fishers 
drawing the net, which has floats above and sinkers 
below it. The calf-herd and fowler, and six farm 
servants, fill the lower scenes. 

Pl. XII. This comprises the south end of the 
chamber, and the west wall to the south of the recess 
at the back. The fish-curer seated under the shade 
of the lotus plants, splitting his fish with a knife, and 



spreading them out to dry, fills the upper scene. The 
leaves of the plants are only painted, and not carved. 
Then the two boatmen who have caught a monstrous 
fish, which they carry in triumph on an oar between 
them. The ploughing and 6 farm servants occur below. 
On the other wall is Rahotep standing in priestly dress 
with a leopard's skin, as he held more than one high 
priestly office in the country. The small* inscription 
is from the stelas in front of the tomb ; both are alike. 
It is rather roughly carved compared with the interior 
work. This is what Mariette ascribes to a separate 
mastaba which he attributes to a fictitious Ranefer. 

38. Pl. XIII. The Hntel or architrave over the 
whole west side of the chamber comes at the top. 
Below this is the recess with its two sides ; but as 
these sides are at right angles to the plane of the 
lintel and wall, they do not of course appear beneath 
the lintel actually in this way. The walls really 
beneath the lintel on each side bear the two large 
figures of Rahotep on Pls. XII, XIV. The need of 
keeping the recess all together obliges this separation. 
The lintel is finely painted, and furnishes some of the 
best signs selected for the frontispiece. The left wall 
is covered with lists of offerings many specified as 
being of the very best, tep ha, or A i. The manner 
in which the jars are all shewn, with lids fastened 
down by a cloth band, and bound with string, and 
sealed, is curiously detailed. In the centre is Rahotep 
seated, with the usual table before him. The arrange- 
ment of the list of offerings is just like that in the 
earliest tombs of Abusir and Gizeh. Below this is 
the niche, with the children of Rahotep at the sides ; 
T'etta (or Zedda), Atu, Nezem-ab, Setet, Merert, and 
Neferku. The damaged part in the centre is given 
entire by Mariette, the lost signs being tu (legs) u.f. 
On the right hand wall are further lists of offerings of 
the same character. 

Pl. XIV. Rahotep appears with a slight mous- 
tache, as on his statue in Gizeh Museum. On the 
north wall are wild cattle with their attendants ; one 
of the farm names has been inserted in the lowest of 
these scenes, and it occurs again in Nefert's tomb on 
the next plate. The six servants bearing offerings 
below, of clothing, meat, and drink, fill up the wall. 
At the side of this plate are given the lower parts of 
some figures, which are all that remain of the sculp- 
tures of Ranefer's tomb, on the sides and back of the 
recess. The work of this tomb is markedly inferior 
to that of Rahotep. 

39. Pl. XV. The tomb niche of Nefert, in the same 
mastaba as Rahotep' s, has a lintel over it, of which the 

small fragments left shew exactly the same arrange- 
ment of titles as on the outer lintel of Rahotep, 
Pls. IX, X : hence this was not copied. The outer 
wall below it is blank. On PL. XV is shewn the sides 
and back of the recess. The lists of offerings occupy 
the upper part of the sides ; and the list of farms the 
•lower part. Of these 12 occur in Rahotep's lists, two 
here are not in Rahotep's, and one in Rahotep's is not 
here. They all differ from the farms of Nefermat, so 
it is certain that these were different families. Much 
remains to be done in forming property lists of farms, 
thus tracing the descent of property, and proving 
genealogical connections by this means. From having 
this repetition of the names, we can judge whether the 
matter of the figures being male or female has any 
significance. We find that of the dozen which recur, 
four are always male, six are always female, and only 
two vary, being male in Rahotep's and female in 
Nefert's. This regularity shews that some intentional 
distinction, probably in the gender of the name of the 
farm, is intended. The tombs were not copied one 
from the other ; the spelling of the names varies 
somewhat, and the order is altogether different 
throughout ; hence the distinction in the figures 
would not have been maintained if they were purely 
arbitrary and ornamental in their character. 

In the middle are Rahotep and Nefert seated, on 
the panel ; and below that the children occur on 
either side of the niche, as in Rahotep's. The order 
varies, so we cannot distinguish their ages, and there 
is no difference shewn in the ages of the boys, so that 
the sculpturing of the two tombs must have been 
nearly contemporary. The distinctions of age 
shewn in tombs are (i) unclad, pointing to mouth ; 
(2) unclad but occupied ; (3) clad with kilt, hands 
empty; (4) clad, holding sceptre; (5) clad, holding 
sceptre and long staff; all these may be seen in 
Nefermat's and Atet's tombs. 

40. The decoration of Nefermat's tomb differs en- 
tirely from that of Rahotep. The characters and 
figures of the whole of this tomb, and of Atet's, are 
incised in the stone, and filled up with coloured pastes, 
level with the surface ; except a few figures down the 
edge of Nefermat's chamber entrance, which are in 
relief This system of colouring was a special device 
of Nefermat's own, doubtless occasioned by his 
observing the flaking and washing of colour from 
painted sculpture. He particularly states (on Pl. 
XXIV) that " He made this to his gods in his un- 
spoilable writing." The sculpture is all hollowed out, 
with the edges undercut, so that the coloured pastes 



with which it is filled should key in. Over wide 
surfaces special means were adopted. The area was 
divided into a number of deeper cells in the bottom, 
divided by cross ridges, of about a third of the height 
of the whole hollow. Holes were then drilled 
diagonally beneath these ridges, so as to meet and 
form bent tunnels for complete loops of the paste to 
hold in. The details of figures, such as the wig and 
face, were often cut to different depths, partly to hold 
the material better, partly as a guide to the artist in 
paste, to shew where his internal outlines were to come. 
Very narrow lines are simply graved out in a V or 
U form, and filled up. Details of different colour, 
such as features, or feathering on a bird, are made by 
cutting outlines in the base paste, and filling them up 
with a different colour. A base of cheaper colour was 
often used, and a facing of more valuable paste was 
incorporated with it. The invention was not a 
success ; extremely tedious, it yet yielded to injury 
more readily than the painted reliefs. The coloured 
pastes were very easily picked out and destroyed, and 
the action of the ever-present salt of Egypt has reduced 
much of what remains to a mere loose powder, and 
forced it out of the hollows in the stone, as a rotten 
mass of dust that will hardly bear touching. Much 
has been ruined since Mariette uncovered these tombs, 
and left them to destruction at the hands of every 
careless Arab and wanton tourist. The colours em- 
ployed, and the means of fixing them, have been 
most carefully examined, chemically and microscopi- 
cally, by Mr. Spurrell ; and I have the pleasure of 
embodying his results in the end of this chapter. 

41. Pl. XVI. The architrave of Nefermat's tomb 
is broken in the middle, where it is here divided on 
the plate ; and the right hand end was altogether lost 
in ages past, while all that remains is deeply weathered 
by exposure. The titles can be traced out by the 
list on Pl. XX. The portion of a stela, on the left 
hand, is in relief, and of fine work. It was found 
lying just in front of the chamber, almost on the 
ground. Scattered near it were many chips of fine 
work in relief ; these I brought away, as illustrating 
the use of scraping tools for dressing surfaces. What 
all these chips and the stela belonged to, and what 
construction has been here destroyed, we cannot be 
certain. But as the edges of the chamber door are 
in relief, it seems not unlikely that the stone blocking 
of the doorway (of which the traces are seen by the 
cutting on the walls) had a relief sculpture on it of a 
false door and panel ; and thence, after the destruc- 
tion of that, came these fragments. 

The other pieces on the same plate are miscel- 
laneous. The stela or panel of Heknen was found at 
the north false door of mastaba No. 4. It is of rough, 
irregular work, of a primitive style. Now in the 
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. The portion of a lintel 
from mastaba 7, is drawn from a photograph and 
hand copy. It was so completely shattered by salt 
that not even a corner of a sign could be moved and 
kept whole. The titles are much the same as those 
of Rahotep, and it was perhaps belonging to a son of 
his, who inherited those offices. 

Pl. XVII. The south side of the facade of Nefermat 
is well preserved at the base, as that part was below 
the evaporating level, and so kept constantly moist ; 
hence the salt has not accumulated in it ; and happily 
Mariette's men did not take the trouble to clear it. 
The huntsmen carry long bent sticks, or flaps of 
hippopotamus hide. Two of the sons appear as boys 
leading tame apes. Below that the leopard is finely 
drawn with the prowling action ; from the position it 
seems as if he were a hunting animal, and not wild. 
At the base is a dog hunting jackals. On the jamb 
of the chamber front is Nefermat, with Atet behind 
him. Below them are two sons who recur on the 
back of the chamber (XX) and elsewhere, and four 
children who do not recur ; from sen occurring added 
to two names it may be that they are brothers' 
children ; if not, they may be grandchildren, sons of 
the sons above them. 

Pl. XVIII. Here Nefermat stands with a son 
before him ; and Atet is below with three sons. Her 
robe is of leopard skin, the spots of which are partly 
in a pattern (each spot is strictly copied) ; and on the 
wrists and ankles are bead decorations, shewing how 
coloured beads were then utilized. The son Khent's 
title " chief of the lake of the crocodile " is very inter- 
esting, as the earliest mention of the Fayum. On the 
rest of the facade is, at the top, a slaughtering scene ; 
below that, a very curious compound group, a hunts- 
man, a large branching tree, up which a monkey is 
climbing, and from which a goat is hung being 
cut up, while a man near stirs the fire by which 
it is to be cooked. It is very unfortunate that this 
is so much injured, the surface in parts having 
been scaled entirely away by the salt. A much 
scaled group of fishermen comes below ; next 
is only the lower edge of a very curious scene of 
cattle, among some strange plants, which are inex- 
plicable in form and colouring. A group of bird- 
snaring, and a pair of ploughmen come below. 
All the lower part is in excellent state, free from 




salt, and never exposed until I uncovered it ; I 
soon reburied it. 

Pl. XIX. This comprises the side of the chamber 
on the left hand when facing it ; the slope down the 
left of the plate being the sloping front of the facade. 
As much has been totally effaced here, owing to the 
insertion of the blocks for closing the chamber, I 
have brought together the parts of the remaining 
sculpture, in order to include them in one plate. The 
top left-hand piece should be about two inches further 
out to the left, and the lower piece about three inches 
out on the plate ; all the intervening space being 
blank. The outer figures are all of farm servants, and 
are in relief, as I have mentioned. Inside Nefermat 
is standing, beholding the offerings for his tomb ; 
while his sister or daughter Nub, seated on the ground 
by his side, puts her arm round his leg. The details 
are all lost, owing to the falling out of the inlayed 
colouring, but this is the best female head that 
remains to us in this tomb. Below are two lines of 
farm servants with the names of the farms. Among 
these is Methun, which has been considered to be the 
ancient form of Medum. 

Pl. XX. This shews the back of the chamber ; the 
lower part of which is all destroyed, except the left 
hand figure, which is here put at the side.* The 
arrangement of the list of offerings is the same as in 
Rahotep's, and the early tombs at Abusir, &c. The 
granaries in the bottom line but one should be 
noticed. In the niche below the panel is Nefermat ; 
Atet, his wife, faces him, and five sons can be recog- 
nised by their names. 

Pl. XXI. This is the side of the chamber opposite 
to Pl. XIX. The wall has been similarly disfigured, 
and the remaining portion of the front part is here 
brought closer in to the rest. At the top there is a 
trace of a cartouche of Seneferu in a farm name, as 
there is on Pl. XIX. These mentions of Seneferu 
are the only cartouches found in any tomb at Medum. 
Here Nefermat is being borne in a chair of state by 
six supporters, the front figures of whom have been 
cut away. Below are two lines of farm servants. 

42. Pl. XXII. We now pass to the chamber of 
Atet, in the same mastaba with that of Nefermat. 
The lintel appears to have been complete in Marietta's 
time, but it was left exposed then, and before 1882 it 
was miserably shattered. It is useful therefore to 
refer to his publication for a fuller view, although not 

* The curious projection on the shoulders of Nefermat is not part of 
the chair, but is some fitting of the leopard's skin priestly dress, as it is 
always accompanied by that, either seated or standing. 

a single point of detail that can be now checked, is 
accurate in that copy. The scene is of Nefermat 
closing a clap net, of which only just the top now 
remains ; while his three sons carry birds that have 
been caught to their mother Atet, who is seated at 
the opposite end. Below this come the top scenes of 
the facade, the rest of which appear on Pls. XVII, 
XVIII. The slaughterer on the left is holding the 
leg of the ox up, while the head is turned round 
backward on the ground. The portion of the title ta 
sab t'a, is on a fragment which I found below in 
excavating, and is here inserted in its place, as I have 
done with some other pieces found loose. These 
fragments I of course buried again, putting them at the 
extreme back of the tomb floor in a heap, with the 
small fragments behind the larger. The name on the 
drum is Atet, and not Teta as in Mariette's copy ; 
and it is as well to say that his reading of Nefermat 
as Nefertma is contradicted both by the sense and by 
the inscriptions. 

Pl. XXIII. Down the side of the facade is a 
series of scenes, cattle at the top, then boat-building, 
and six children at the base. On the edge of the 
great monolith of the chamber side, is a figure of 
Nefermat, in priestly robe, and five children below. 

Pl. XXIV. This is the opposite side of the facade. 
The edge of the chamber side forms a slight pilaster, 
on which is Nefermat standing, and saying that " he 
made this to his gods in his writing unspoilable." 
Below him is Atet sedted, with two sons behind and 
four below her. On the rest of the facade is a series 
of scenes. At the top are servants bearing wine and 
fruit, deb being figs or perhaps pomegranates from the 
form. Beneath are the tame birds, with the deter- 
minative of three tethers ; and two tame animals 
below. This means therefore again the "place of 
domesticated animals of the tomb " as in Pl. IX. 
The next line shews the " coming out from the marsh," 
the fowlers in a boat, with the stick, and loop of withy 
on which the birds are strung, like the object held by 
the seated figure sa. Next come two of the younger 
sons, in marsh dress, catching birds in a net. And at 
the bottom a very small boy looking after an ape — 
who seems to have the better of him — and a monkey 
in front who cannot resist pulling the bird's tail : the- 
bird's hinder leg is suspiciously raised ; as if he was 
just going to let fly with it right into the monkey's 

PL. XXV. This is the left side of the chamber 
when facing into it. The wall is grievously scaled 
by salt, and not half of the sculpture remains. 



Nefermat is here standing viewing the boat building ; 
and a fragment remaining at the bottom of the wall 
shews a wine-press in use. 

Pl. XXVI. The back of the chamber is much 
destroyed, and the figure of Atet seated before a 
table of offerings (which is shewn by Mariette on the 
panel) is now wholly smashed away. Nefermat and 
Atet appear below that, with several sons. 

Pl. XXVII. This wall has suffered much in every 
way. The middle has been much scaled, by salt 
flaking the stone, while most of the upper part", has 
been broken off in a huge flake, and lesser pieces, by 
the Arabs since it has been left uncovered. Owing 
to this shattered state it was difficult to piece it 
together in the drawing, as the great flake was too 
large to set up in place. Hence there is some little 
distortion in this sheet. Nefermat stands with his 
sister or daughter Nub behind him ; for an edge of 
the sign nub remains. He is holding in two hunting 
dogs by cords, while they are seizing a hare by the 
neck and a gazelle by the leg. This scene appears to 
have been designed on a larger surface, and then cut 
down at the outer edge ; in the middle line there are 
the horns of some animal which is not on the stone ; 
in the top line the hind part of the hare is not included ; 
in the lower line the animal's head is partly off. 
Perhaps the design was done before the sloping edge 
was cut, with the intention of a different form of front. 
The lower part is occupied with tame animals. 

43. Pl. XXVIII. The group of geese from Medum, 
now in the Ghizeh Museum, is justly celebrated. It 
was found by Mariette's workmen in clearing the 
tomb of Atet, and was removed by Vassali. When 
I came to clear out these tombs again, I found in 
the open passages of Atet and Nefermat various 
melancholy fragments of what had been fairly perfect 
paintings twenty years ago. The heads had been 
chopped out with a pick, and the morsels shewed how 
barbarously the nineteenth century had treated what 
had remained to us from the beginnings of history. 
So ruined were these fragments that only one of them 
is worth reproducing, No. 2, Pl. XXVIII, representing 
two fowlers, one drawing the net rope, the other 
carrying a bird. Some other lesser chips I placed in 
a recess in the brickwork of Atet's tomb, before I 
earthed that over. Beside what had been destroyed, 
I found some portions which had happily escaped the 
terrible attentions of the previous excavators. In the 
narrow court in front of Nefermat's facade the ground 
had not been disturbed at the bottom, since the 
natural decay of the building. There lay the remains 

of the blocking of the chamber, carved in relief with 
a panel, which is in plate XVI. There were also 
other chips of that work, which I carefully collected, 
to examine the mode of stone dressing, as they were 
quite fresh and sharp. Evidently a metal chisel or 
adze, and a metal scraper were used ; for the scratch 
lines all being sunk, were made by jagged projections 
of metal. Whereas in Ranefer's stone-work a flint 
tool was used for scraping (as at Lachish), all the 
scratch lines being raised, owing to chipping out of 
the flint edge. The source of this difference is proved 
easily by experiment. I also found a long length of 
painted fresco (XXVIII, i) which had covered part 
of the mud-brick facade above the stone facade. It 
had, in course of time, slipped off bodily from the 
wall, and fallen into the court. Of course it was 
much shattered, but yet it was fairly continuous. By 
great care I removed the pieces, but the mud plaster 
backing was so much rotted (by rains running down 
into this hollow), that it broke up a good deal in 
travelling. I therefore removed all the mud back, 
and transferred the film of painted gesso to slate 
backing, on which it is now quite safe : this occupied 
about a week in England. It affords us some details 
of colouring not otherwise known. The seated figure 
sa is in a banded black and green costume ; and the 
ia sign is curious and inexplicable, and differs from 
the later forms. This remaining piece opens our 
eyes to what was the great extent of fresco work in 
this earliest time. From the arrangement of it, it 
appears that there was a colossal figure of Nefermat, 
standing or seated, with his titles and name above his 
head. He was " Beholding his prosperity," typified 
by servants leading in oxen, &c., before him. Judging 
by the relative size of such inscriptions to the figures 
in Pls. XVII to XXI, this must have been by the 
average 84 inches high if standing, or 59 if seated ; 
the latter is more likely, according to the length of 
the inscription. This, with the inscription over him, 
would require a fresco wall about 80 inches high. 
The facade below it was about 1 80 inches high (in- 
cluding a blank space below the sculpture) ; so that 
the total required for the court is 280 inches. As the 
mastaba was probably 412 high, this is quite possible. 
In the base of this court we found pieces of wooden 
logs, &c., belonging to the roofing, that had fallen 
down into the space. It is indeed fortunate that the 
former excavators did not persevere, and so clear out 
the whole place, and destroy this evidence twenty 
years ago. 

Another fresco that I found was in a part of the 

E 2 



passage to Atet's chamber. All of this had been 
finely painted, as Mariette describes, " erne de scenes 
varices, de chasse et de p^che, peintes avec une grande 
finesse sur le stuc " ; when I cleared it not one piece 
of all this was left, except behind some of the brick- 
filling of the passage which the ravagers had not 
thought worth removing. I there secured the pieces 
XXVIII, 3, 4. Nos. 2 and 3 are in the South Ken- 
sington Museum ; No. 4 at Owens College Museum, 
Manchester. In the passage to. Nefermat's chamber 
I only found remaining a part of Atet in a leopard- 
skin dress, and the legs of Nefermat. These I left on 
the wall. 

Another example of wall fresco of inferior style, 
but interesting in detail, I found in the end of the 
passage of mastaba 22 (see Pls. VI, VII, XXVIII, 

5, 6, 7). The master was named Nefer uu and 

had the title Kher heb. His son, who appears before 
him in No. 6, had the title sar, ruler of the mansion, 
and companion, but his name is lost. The scene on 
the west wall No. 5 is the master standing (not copied, 
as much defaced), before whom are led two pairs of 
oxen, who have housings, or supports for a litter, 
upon them. Before the man is the title " overseer of 
the Khal' perhaps a thousand oxen. On the east 
wall. No. 6, is the master, with three sons, watching 
the farming scenes, of which two harvesters remain. 
The white panniers, which they carry on their hips, 
are to hold the ears as they cut them off. Although 
no sickle is represented it is seen that only the left 
hand grasps the straws together, shewing that some 
implement must be held in the right to cut them. 
The grain is long-bearded wheat. On the south wall 
(No. 7) is a fowling and fishing scene. The plants 
are interesting, as not of the conventional forms ; and 
the fishers, though roughly done, are spirited, the 
truth of the four men dragging up the net from the 
water is better than stiff drawings of later times. 
The remains of two fishes below show what care 
was given to detail. The sinkers and floats to the 
net are the same as in Rahotep's tomb. Poor as this 
tomb is, the paintings are as good as most of those in 
the great sepulchres of the Xllth dynasty. 

44. I have been favoured by Mr. Spurrell with the 
following results of his careful examination, chemical 
and microscopic, of the colours employed in the Medum 
tombs, to which I add my own observations on the 
local details at Medum. 

The coat of colours on the stone sculptures of 
Rahotep's tomb and Nefermat's doorway has been 
laid on with a brush, and in some instances apparently 

rubbed into the stone so thoroughly as to become 
adherent. The painting of the coloured frescoes, 
from the passages of Nefermat's and Atet's tombs, is 
also brush work, and was apparently mixed with a 
medium which has decayed and left them sometimes 
pulverulent. In the yellow ochre — on a deer — it 
appears that something was employed much like 
albumen in its resistance to water, but the film is too 
thin to experiment on. These fresco colours are laid 
on a fine thin layer of gesso, bright and pure, about 
-sVth of an inch thick. The outlines are first traced 
in faint red, and the final colouring laid over them. 
The gesso is laid on a coat of lime and gypsum burnt 
together, and mixed with tibn (chopped straw), about 
i to i inch thick ; and this rests on a coat of mud 
and tibn about \\ inches thick, which was applied to 
the bare brick wall, and held up by keying into the 

White is a pulverulent efflorescence of gypsum — 
calcium sulphate — very bright if selected, but creamy 
in general. 

Black is lamp black, and no charcoal or graphite is 
found. A circular cake of lamp black \ inch high 
and i-i- across, slightly concave on top, was found 
loose in Rahotep's well. 

Yellow is yellow ochre with clay, in the best ex- 
amples it is nearly pure ferric sesquioxide. Much 
variation in tint was obtained, both by thickness of 
the film and difference in the earth. Occasionally a 
faint wash of red haematite over the yellow changes 
the hue to orange. A yellow marl abounds at 
Medum ; it might be used as a pigment alone, but in 
no case has it been so found. After the removal of 
the calcium carbonate from it by rain, the fine ochre 
which would be washed into pockets and seams would 
give a good colour. Steeped in sour wine the marl 
gives a superior pigment, identical in colour with most 
of the yellows. It is noticeable that this deepened 
colour is 'not lightened with calcium carbonate, but 
with sulphate (gypsum), when required by the artist. 
A greenish grey on the deer (XXVIII, 3) was made 
by a yellowish earth containing fine brown grains 
(sand) of some mineral. 

Red is red haematite ground in water. Coarser 
and darker reds are from natural deposits of ochreous 
clays, some of which appear to contain much 

Brown is frequently obtained by a thin wash of 
haematite red over impure black, as for birds' feathers. 
But it is usually an ochre unburnt, and sometimes 
laid over a coat of haematite. 



Green is malachite, and being pure it is remarkably 
uniform in tint. No traces of green or blue frits have 
been found in all this early work. 

Grey, and neutral backgrounds, often greenish, are 
made of pale yellowish earth with a little lamp-black, 
which burns out at a red heat. 

Blue is a rarer pigment, and none was found loose 
for removal, nor on the frescoes brought over. On 
the walls it appears much of a blue verditer tint, 
apparently derived from an impure earthy blue 
carbonate of copper. The shell (XXIX, 17) bore, 
smeared on the inside, some intensely blue chessylite, 
very finely ground, and without the minutest trace of 
malachite. The animal matter of the shell, and the 
medium of the paint has perished. 

45. The colours of Nefermat's and Atet's inlayed 
work are wholly different in tone, all mixed with 
more or less white. Their mode of application I have 
already stated in section 40. These pastes char a 
little, shewing organic matter, which disappears on 
burning. No extract by water or alkali could be 
obtained, nor any smell like albumen or gelatine when 
burnt. Though some pieces retain their original 
hardness and polish, most of them are powdery, 
owing to decay of the medium, and action of salt. 
This hardness and darkening extends a variable dis- 
tance into the paste from its face. It is apparently 
due to rubbing in an oil or Hquid turpentine, by 
which the surface was polished and the colour en- 
hanced. Occasionally the saturated part is not 
thicker than a visiting card, and by drying has con- 
tracted and separated from the mass, which is then 
seen to be full of bubbles. 

There are throughout most specimens many small 
oval or globular bodies, mainly at the surface. These 
globules can easily be extracted as they sink in water 
from the intermixed colour. They are brownish 
yellow, translucent, easily crushed, and soluble in 
alcohol : burning brightly with a resinous smell, and 
moderate smoke. They may be due to grains of 
resin mingled with the p'aste before application, or to 
a collection of the turpentinous polish into the air- 
bubble spaces of the paste ; or — less likely — a segre- 
gation of the turpentine originally mixed with the 
paste. Turpentine may have been liquefied with 
strong wine. 

The colours are. 

White, burnt gypsum, more or less creamy. 

Black, or rather always grey, of lamp black and 
burnt gypsum. 

Red, in various shades lighter than haematite, is 

an ochreous clay mixed with fibrous gypsum pounded. 
In one case the red is mixed very intimately with 
yellow ochreous clay. The painted lines of red are 
rubbed hsematite. 

Red brown is the same as olivey yellow that is 
burnt, and it does not alter by further burning. 

Yellow, (i) Clear, low tone, yellow ; of ochreous 
clay mixed with powdered gypsum. (2) Olivey 
yellow ; ochreous clay or earth. (3) The same, 
darker, with brownish stains. None of these contain 
carbonate of lime. 

Green is pure malachite, lightened in some cases by 
pure gypsum. It is often economised by filling below 
with yellow, and facing that with the coat of green. 
This accounts for certain signs which are usually 
green appearing as yellow in these plates. 


46. A branch of Egyptology which has been re- 
markably neglected hitherto is epigraphy. In the 
limited and arbitrary alphabets of Phoenicia, Greece, 
and other lands we know that epigraphy is one of 
the most carefully and scientifically treated subjects. 
But in Egypt epigraphy should be not merely a study 
of arbitrary signs, but also of the greatest interest as 
throwing a light on the civilization ; and yet it has 
scarcely been thought of beyond the mere matter of 
classifying the signs by their nature. Some variations 
of forms in different ages are generally recognised, 
but the question of the earliest forms known has 
hardly been touched ; yet this matter is what explains 
to us more of the condition of the earliest historic 
Egyptians than any actual objects that have been 
found. I propose here to state the illustrative details 
of the signs that occur at Medum, and also a few 
which I have noted in the Ghizeh Museum. 

47. Following the usual order of classifying signs, 
we first note the squatting figure holding a long stick 
on which is a loop ; the colour is best seen on the 
fresco (Pl. XXVIII), but there is a curious variation 
in three lines radiating from the loop (Pl. XXII) ; 
this seems to be the sa sign, and when we see the 
fowler with such a loop of withy, on which they 
strung their birds (Pl. XXIV) and so carried them 
by a stick, it seems as if the source of the sign was 
before us. The Libyan archer appears here (IX) as 
distinct and characteristic as in any later time. 



One rare sign appears, a man pounding in a mortar 
(XV) ; and in the old man sign {aau XIII, XIV) the 
stick is forked below ; the other human signs {ur, ked 
— build — shep's, s infant, and menat nurse determina- 
tive) are all as known in general. 

Among parts of the body is the nose, which is 
sometimes alone (XXIV), and sometimes with the 
eye (XXII). The heart is well shewn (XIII), and is 
clearly not a vase as it has been classified. It is 
noticeable that the markings on it, which are con- 
stant until late times, are exactly the same as those on 
the nefer ; it rather appears that the nefer is really 
the heart and tracheae, as Mr. Spurrell has suggested 
to me, and since no trace of strings is ever shewn 
upon it, nor is the stem prolonged over the round 
part as in drawings of guitars, we must feel much 
doubt as to the usual explanation of it. The colour 
of the parts of the body is not constant ; the mouth 
is mostly yellow but sometimes red, the arm red, the 
hand yellow, the legs both red and yellow. As red is 
the male colour and yellow the female these colours 
are suitable, but are hardly likely to refer to a differ- 
ence of gender. 

Among the animals the hog (XXI) is of rare occur- 
rence, and looks here as if it were wild. The lion's 
head,/^/^ (XIII, XIX), is clearly not a drawing from 
the animal, but of some object formed like a lion's 
head, perhaps a draughtman on the top of a staff. 

The bird ur is unmistakably the wagtail, which is 
so common in Egypt ; the general colouring (Front, 
and XIII) and the black spot on the breast leave no 
doubt on the subject. The eagle a is very well shewn 
in coloured examples (Front, and XIII, XIV) ; and also 
the owl (Front. XI, XII) which is very true to nature. 
The oxyrhyncus occurs here (XIII), which is rare. 
Of reptiles there is the crocodile, all yellow (XXIII), 
or yellow with black feet (XVIII), which appears in 
the interesting title '' chief of the lake of the croco- 
dile," the earliest name of the Fayum. The frog also 
occurs (XVII) yellow. A part of an animal which 
has been very uncertainly attributed is here well 
shewn ; Kka is certainly not a club, nor a part of the 
human body : the structure shews the mouths of 
glands (XII, XIII) and can only be referred to the 
mammae of some animal. The sign shed, which has 
been classed as a whip, and described as a skin 
bottle, is here seen (Front, and XI) to be the skin of 
an animal, yellow, or mottled black or white, flayed 
off, and rolled up raw, with the fur outside ; the red 
flaps of the inside of the legs and neck skin shew out 
at the ends, and the roll is tied around the middle. 

and each end, with a cord. The senses of shed (a 
skin bottle, to pull off, flay, lift up, save, or select) 
exactly agree with this. 

Among plants there are some varieties of tree forms 
which might be discriminated (XII, XIII, XV, XVII, 
XVIII, XXIII); and a variety of the hen plant 
(XV), which is clearly a low shrub, and suggests a 
connection with the Arabic henna. The pod net' em 
(XI, XIII) which is usually called the acacia is hardly 
of that form ; and, from its meaning " sweet," it is 
more likely to be the sweet pod of the Kharub or 
locust tree. Coming next to inanimate objects we 
notice the colouring of the hill sign du (XXVIII), 
which is light red sprinkled with spots of black, white, 
red, and green, representing the many-coloured 
pebbles which catch the eye in walking over the 
desert. In one case there is a strip of green below 
it for the edge of the green land at the desert 
foot (XIV). 

A sign which has been most absurdly classed as a 
framework, is the road, ua or her (IX) ; this is finely 
coloured on a slab in the Ghizeh Museum, and ex- 
plains itself as a red road or embankment, with a blue 
banal on either side, and green trees growing along 
the canals in alternation. 

It is noticeable that water is always blue, green, or 
black ; the wavy line n is black, the tank sh and water 
in a mass are dark blue or green with black ripples. 
To any one accustomed to the yellow-brown, opaque 
waters of the Nile such colouring would be unnatural. 
Does this colouring not seem then to have been fixed 
by dwellers on the clear, dark waters of the Red 

48. Buildings are the next division ; and from the 
hieroglyphs we learn far more of architecture in the 
dark period of the first three dynasties, than we can 
learn by actual buildings until the XVII Ith. But- 
tressed walls were usual for forts, as the sign is of the 
same form as the later determinative (XIV, XV). 
The cornices of the law courts were already crowned 
with a row of uraei, as shewn in the sign ta (XX, 
XXI). And in the types of columns we see the same 
highly advanced forms. The sign an, which is often 
called an obelisk, is seen here to be a fluted eight- 
sided column (Front., X, XIII), with a tenon on the 
top to fit the lintel, and painted black below, then 
white with an ornamental edge, and red above. This 
form is not yet known in the round until the XI Ith 
dynasty. Next the sign aa, usually called a spear, is 
remarkably detailed here (XIII) and is seen to be 
absolutely identical with the central support of the 



roof in heb (X), which sign has also octagonal fluted 
columns at the sides. The aa it will be seen has the 
tenon on the top like the an ; from its slenderness and 
general form it was certainly of wood, and it appears 
to have been the great central pole of a tent or 
canopy, carved into the form of a lotus plant. This 
then was the origin of the lotus columns and capitals, 
with the curious inverted flower or bell, which are so 
often found in the XVII Ith dynasty. Other forms of 
columns were also known in the IVth dynasty ; I 
have published a remarkable column with wide capital, 
apparently derived from the form of a bowl on a 
stand (Season in Egypt, PL. XXV), carved in the 
tomb of Khafkhufu at Gizeh. And another, not 
dissimilar, is seen on a wall-painting at Kahun in the 
Xllth dynasty, but with a banded top (Illahun, PL. 
XVI). Now on the dad (or tat) sign (PL. XIII) we 
see a tenon on the top, an evidence of a column ; and 
abstracting for a time the repeated forms of the top, 
we see that the main body is much like the column 
drawn at Kahun. What then is the meaning of the 
multiple top? ,In representing objects which were 
not all in one plane the Egyptians used certain con- 
ventions, and one of these was that parts that were 
behind others were placed above them ; this is seen in 
the drawings of groups of offerings, the birds, vege- 
tables, &c., being drawn one above the other, to 
represent that they lay one beyond the other on the 
table ; it is seen in the wall-painting at Kahun 
(Illahun, Pl. XVI) where the interior with the master 
and servant is drawn above the front view of the 
house ; and it is the elementary convention of all 
wall scenes (as Prof. Maspero has pointed out), that 
the Nile, the cultivation, the near desert, and the far 
desert, succeed one another up from the base to the 
top of the wall, in registers one over the other. 
Regarding this regular convention we can hardly 
neglect to see that the dad is a row of columns one 
behind the other with the capitals shewn one over the 
other ; the ;line of columns to support a roof being 
necessarily particularly stable and firm, and according 
with the meaning of the sign. From all these we can 
form some idea of the lost architecture of the first 
three dynasties ; there were octagonal fluted columns 
of stone painted in bands, columns with capitals of the 
bowl and stand type, similar ones with capitals of the 
dad type, and slender shafts of wood of the lotus type. 
Such forms cannot have been introduced as familiar 
signs in syllalaic writing until they were well established 
as regular architectural members ; and we are left in 
amazement at the fully developed and completed 

types of decorative architecture which these reveal to 
us at so remote and unknown an age. 

Granaries are shewn in Nefermat's tomb (XX, in 
list of ofl"erings). The form of the door-bolt s is 
remarkably contracted in the middle, and has a double 
line along the nick (XIII) ; such lines usually shew a 
string, as on the tied-up necks of bags (XIII, XV), 
and here it seems likely that the middle of the bolt 
had a string round it, which could be sealed on to the 
door to prevent it being moved. 

49. We next turn to weapons. The axe, mab, here 
(Front, XIII, XIV) bound into the handle, sdems 
from its outline to be a stone hatchet, as both form 
and colour are much like the blue grey hornstone 
hatchets which I have found at Kahun of the Xllth 
dynasty. The dagger in sheath tep is of the usual 
type. The bows appear in a bow case (IX) ; but it is 
curious that the mesha, archer (IX), is clearly a Lybian 
in type ( ? connected with the name Mashuash), and 
he bears a bow of different form from the Egyptian, 
in one case (IX) with the string broken and hanging 
partly from each end. The arrows both of the archer 
and elsewhere (IX, XIII, XX) are all flat ended, 
probably tipped with small flints to cut chisel fashion. 
The aha sign of the arms holding a shield and mace, 
shews that the shield had straight sides, but was either 
curved (XV) or straight (XII) at the top. .The mace 
is evidently the het! sign (which has been classed as a 
vegetable), and it is well shewn in separate examples 
(XII, XIII). We recognise the yellow staff", the red 
binding, and the white stone head, with the yellow 
staff-end projecting. Such a mace head of very hard 
white limestone I found at Kahun (Xllth dynasty), 
and a piece of one of bright white stone (magnesite ?) 
with the names of Khafra, I picked up at Gizeh. The 
particular whiteness of the heads of those I found, and 
in the drawings, shews why this was taken to express 
brightness or whiteness. The harpoon, ua, is very 
well shewn (Front., XIII, XIV) ; the body being red, 
probably of wood, the point blue for copper (like the 
copper cauldrons being blue, see XIII), and the loop 
is of cord, as is expressly shewn On the tomb of 
Rameriankh in the Ghizeh Museum. 

Among the agricultural implements the sickle, ma, 
is the most interesting. It is always green in the 
body, with a projecting line of teeth, drawn black on 
white (Front., XI, XIII). This is explained by the 
sickles which I have found of the Xllth dynasty ; 
they are carved in wood, with notched flints inserted 
for teeth ; such then was the nature of the sickles of 
the Ilird dynasty, though why they should be painted 



green it is difficult to understand. The obvious 
origin of this sickle is from an ox's jaw with flints 
substituted for the animal teeth. Such was a wide- 
spread implement in the later stone age, as we see 
from the innumerable flints in Egypt and elsewhere ; 
these are notched on the edge, and shew by their 
polish that they have been set in a groove socket, 
and worn on a hard material like siliceous straw. A 
whole class of matters has been cleared up by these 
flint sickles which we see drawn in the sculptures. 
In one tomb-well here over a hundred flint flakes were 
found. The hoe, mer, is of the usual type : but one 
instance (XV) may be a natural hoe, such as I have 
found in the Xllth dynasty carved out of a natural 
branch like perhaps the hoe on XXI. The plough 
(XII, XVIII) has always two handles, similar to our 
modern ploughs, and unlike the Roman plough which 
had a sort of rudder head for guiding it. An article 
fashioned from a natural branch, with a pole bound 
on to the fork of it (XII with the pole, and in XIII 
without the pole), is seen several times ; but it is not 
commonly known, and probably fell out of use in 
early ages. 

Of tools there are several. The chisel menkh 
which became very much corrupted in late times, is well 
drawn here (Front, and XI) and is unmistakable, as 
there is both the name and the use of it represented. 
The handle is of turned wood, with a copper blade 
inserted. Another form of chisel is the mer, often 
occurring in the title smer ; it varies in form, some- 
times a wide-headed handle with a spike-shaped 
blade, in others a barrel-shaped handle (XVIII, XX), 
but most noticeable is the barrel handle with a pro- 
jection on one side, and the blade excentric (XXIV) 
and shewing in one case by the side of the handle ; 
this seems to be of the same family as the adze (so 
familiar in the sotp sign) where the blade is not 
inserted but attached to the handle ; here apparently 
it is secured by a band of metal around it, as the pro- 
jection is sometimes green ; the handle is regularly 
yellow, being wood, and the blade black. The nenu 
or adze occurs on a grand scale where a carpenter is 
using it (Front., XI, XXV), and also in the sotp sign 
(XI) ; the blade is attached to the wood by a long 
binding. I have much such a blade nearly a foot 
long, and four inches wide ; and I have found the 
blades in the IVth, Xllth, and XVIIIth dynasties, 
varying in form. The so-called polisher t is always 
black ; such polishing stones are rarely, if ever, found ; 
but black stones of exactly this shape are very com- 
mon in early times, with a highly worn hole in the 

flat side ; these were doubtless the stone caps for bow 
drills, and for fire sticks, and we can hardly err in 
calling / the drill head. The maa sign (XVI to XXI) 
which is commonly recognised as a cubit, is long, 
thin, and square ended, plainly the side view of the 
cubit ; this being confused with the ta sign of land, 
an end view was later adopted, and the bevel, which 
is characteristic of the section of a cubit, was thus 
added to the sign to distinguish it. The somewhat 
variable sign sem (XIV), often classed as a knife, is 
undoubtedly a sharpening stone for whetting knives ; 
it is represented as so used in early tombs, and it is a 
stone, and not metal (or a steel), as it is secured by a 
knob at the end and string binding, instead of passing 
the loop through a hole. The stick for winding string 
upon (Ranefer XIV) is perhaps what is otherwise 
known as ud. The sledge for dragging stones, tern, 
is of the usual form (XX) ; and I have found pieces 
of such sledges, of hard wood, joined by mortise and 
tenon, among the stone chip fiUing-in of the pyramid 
of Usertesen II at Illahun. Two forms of the sign 
net occur, one the knitting-needle (XIII, XVj such as 
I have found of wood and metal in the Xllth dynasty ; 
the other what is usually called the shuttle, but which 
is a complex affair, that seems to have handles at the 
end, and to be bound round with crossing bands 
(XV) ; this is the usual emblem of the goddess Neit, 

SO. Three forms of sceptre are shewn ; the uas or 
fam (XIII) has no animal head, as is usual later on, 
but is merely the natural stick branching from the 
main stem and subdividing at the tip ; the hek does 
not seem to be a crook as usually supposed, but a 
bent rod, bound around (X, XXVIII, 6) ; the kherp 
is as usual. The important divine sign, neter, is 
hardly yet explained ; that it is an axe is impossible ; 
the later idea of its being a roll of bandages on a stick 
is not satisfactory, as such an arrangement would be 
very awkward to use in swathing a mummy. Here 
there are several varieties. The top is plain with a 
simple rod (XXIV), or with a rod ending in a ball 
(stela XVI) ; the top is divided into two strips in five 
instances (XV), and into three strips with a cross line 
in one case (XVI) ; the colour is yellow, with the 
lower end of the rod black (XXIV). The ball at the 
end, the slope at the top, the division into strips, the 
colour, and the cross bands on the handle, all render 
it a difficult problem, although it is classed with tex- 
tiles in the early lists of offerings. 

Of personal ornaments three are now explained. 
The well-known sign of " chancellor " {sahu) is now 
seen to be identical in its two forms, the upright loop 



and the curved loop (Front., XIII, XIV, XVI, XVII, 
XVIII, XX) ; and in the finely carved and coloured 
example (Front, XIII) it is clearly a string of beads 
alternately long and round, green and red, with an 
object attached ; this object appears to be a cylinder 
of dark blue-green, with yellow ends, and a red knob 
below ; and the nature of it suggests a signet cylinder 
of green jasper, with gold ends, and a central pin with 
a red jasper knob, to hold it in. It means then essen- 
tially the seal, and the title must be the royal seal- 
bearer, and hence treasurer. The sign mib was long ex- 
plained as a cloth for washing gold ; but it is unmis- 
takably a grand collar (XIII) with rows of green, red, 
and black beads. As gold was probably first used for 
ornament around the neck, the collar naturally came 
to be the sign for gold. Another familiar object is 
the shoulder fastener for garments, which is here 
identical with the sign seta (XII, XIII, XV) ; the 
manner in which it was used suggests that it was 
a spiral coil of sheet metal, into which could be 
slipped side-ways the thin part of a garment. 

The draught-board, men , is well illustrated in these 
sculptures (XI, XIII, XIX). It is regularly divided 
into 3 squares one way and lo squares the other ; 
and this carries back the use of this 3 X lo board to 
the Ilird dynasty. As I have found these boards 
also in the Xllth, XVIIIth and XXVIth dynasties, the 
game was known for four thousand years. The board 
is shewn in plan, and the row of pieces in elevation on 
the upper edge ; these pieces are of two sizes, the 
larger white, and the smaller, some red, some black ; 
or the larger green, and the smaller as before ; there 
were thus three kinds of pieces used, and from the 
numerals on boards I have found we see that they 
counted from left to right along the top row of the 
board. (Kahun, p. 30.) 

51. Among the rope and band signs the i, h, and 
shes, all occur in usual forms. But a point which has 
not been noticed is that the numerals are all pieces of 
rope. The unit stroke is not a line, but a piece of 
rope, with the lower end frayed out to shew it (num- 
bers on stela, XVI). The ten sign is exactly the 
shape of a rope tether, such as is used to express a 
tairie animal (IX, XXIV). The hundred is certainly 
a coil of rope. And though the origin of the thousand 
sign is not clear, and it seems more like a plant, yet it 
was expressed by kha, " to measure," and a '' cord for 
measuring." If then all the system of numeration is 
derived from rope or cord, we are led to conclude that 
the primitive Egyptian notation was by a knotted 
cord. Another remarkable point of notation here (as 

is also seen in other early tombs) is the sign for a 
continued series. We write for instance i, 2, 3, . . . . 
100 to denote all numbers up to 100, or i, 3, 5, 7 ... . 
45 for all odd numbers up to 45. So the Egyptian 
wrote I, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and then drawing a bar divided 
into a multitude of small parts, he placed 100 below 
it, to denote all the other numbers up to 100 (stela, 
Pl. XVI). The sign sa (back) is here made clearly 
not like a backbone (XIII), with which it was some- 
times identified. The long mid line of it is continuous, 
and the other loops are attached to that (XIII). It 
is possible that this is the wide bsmd that goes behind 
the climber in ascending palm trees ; it is most 
emphatically that which backs or protects him, and as 
such would be a suitable sign. The package,/, is 
shewn with wavy lines of cord around it in the fresco 
(XXVIII). The cartouche line, which has not been 
explained, is drawn on a slab of the Vlth dynasty at 
Gizeh Museum as a rope binding, lashed together at 
the bottom, and with two bows which form the spread 
base of it. We can see that rope lashings were used 
on a very large scale, as the whole of a stone trap- 
door was girded with no less than 80 turns of rope, in 
Ranefer's tomb ; so this rope lashing of the cartouche, 
to bind together the group of signs of a royal name, 
is not an unlikely idea for early times. The sign for 
a clap net (X, XVIII) is what has been classed as a 
framework : it represents the two sides of a net. The 
symbol of life, anM, is shewn with a divided upright 
(XIV), and in a fine example in Gizeh Museum the 
side parts are likewise split. It appears (as Prof. 
Sayce has suggested) to be the fisherman's girdle 
with the loop passing round the waist, and the loose 
flaps hanging from it ; this is the marsh-dress such as 
the Nile figures wear, and as we see in the figures of 
fishers, &c. (X, XI, XVIII). A sign hitherto unex- 
plained is the familiar kotep. It is derived by the 
same system as the sign of the men board and pieces ; 
the mat of green rushes lashed together with yellow 
cross strings is shewn in plan, and above that in 
elevation is the offering-dish piled up with flour or 
other food which was placed upon it before the tomb 
or shrine. The green mat and yellow strings are 
finely shewn in several cases (XIII, XIV). The reel 
for winding rope on is shewn in many of the figures 
of bird catching, at the free end of the rope (XVlII, 
XXII). Several other signs here remain as yet un- 
explained, though the detailed colouring of Mer 
(XIII) and i'a (XXVIII) ought to help us to guess 

We now see how much light we have gained from 




the study of only two tombs ; light both on the 
sources of hieroglyphs, and on the civilisation which 
filled the unknown age of the first three dynasties. 
Far more work is needed on the early and fine 
sculptures to secure their details, and above all to 
record the colouring before it drops off in the air, or 
is washed away by some barbarian taking wet squeezes 
from the walls. Nearly all the colouring in the lower 
part of Rahotep's tomb was thus destroyed, and 
Mariette used the squeezes of it. 



• 52. The positions of the various objects found have 
been described in the previous chapters, but here we 
shall notice the details of the objects in the order in 
which they stand on the plates. 

Pl. XXIX, I to 5. Hawks found in the temple of 
Seneferu. It is not likely that such peculiar offerings 
would continue to be made on purpose long after the 
death of the king ; we have seen that the offering of 
small vases and saucers ceased before the mastaba 18 
was constructed ; and probably as each king died the 
worship would be transferred to the last deceased. 
Moreover all these hawks are different, and must 
have been specially made for offering here, and yet 
all by different hands ; if offered till later times there 
would probably have been one factory for them, and 
they would have been all alike. The character of the 
glazing of No. 3 — a clear light purplish blue, with dark 
purple stripes — is also early, and cannot be of the 
XVIIIth dynasty, nor hardly of the Xllth. I think 
probably therefore that these are contemporary with 
the- decease of Seneferu, and the oldest small figures 
known. The base of a statuette, 6, will be noted by 
Mr. Griffith in the inscriptions ; it is of black serpen- 
tine. From both the offerer and the town being 
named after Seneferu there is a probability of its 
early date, and it might well be of the IVth dynasty. 
The lower part of a basalt stand, 7, is evidently a copy 
in stone of a pottery form, such as XXX, 21. The 
hole in it is one of three around it, and copied from 
the hole cut with a knife in the pottery. Both of 
these seem to have originated in a wooden form, as 
the hole seems to be the space left between joining 
pieces of wood ; and is not likely to arise as a mere 
decoration in pottery. It is the regulation type of 
table stand as seen in the sculptures (Pl. XIII). 

No. 8 is a potsherd of the XVIIIth dynasty with an 
hieratic inscription, which was written when it had 
been broken to nearly the present size. Mr. Griffith 
will deal with this in the inscriptions. There were 
also in the temple many blue beads of the XVIIIth 
dynasty, two bronze lance heads, and dried fruits, from 
the burial there. 

No. 9 is a polished piece of ivory of unknown use ', 
it seems like a toilet object, but the teeth are too 
small for a comb ; possibly it was a skin-scraper. 

No. 10 is a horn handle of a mirror, probably of 
the IVth dynasty. 

No. 1 1 is the adze blade which is certainly of the 
old Kingdom, and perhaps of the IVth dynasty. The 
type varies from those of the Xllth and XVIIIth 
dynasties. The bevel edge is already fully developed ; 
and the thickness of the head suggests that it might 
be struck by a mallet. 

No. 1 2 is a fragment of a rude saw ; the notches do 
not join, and may have been made with a flint edge. 
It was broken off anciently, and wrapped up in a 
piece of linen tied together, to preserve it. I found 
it among the broken stone and chips, which were 
thrown in to make the ground level at the north of 
mastaba 17. 

No. 13 is a rude plummet of soft white limestone, 
hung by a thread passing round it ; this was found 
among the stone chips which form the mass of mas- 
taba 17, which is probably contemporary with the 
pyramid. Many pieces of linen were also found 
among these chips ; some of it coarse and saturated 
with ruddle, which may have been used to rub ruddle 
on stones for colouring, or for masons' marks. 

No. 14 is a small bronze chisel of the type of the 
XlXth dynasty ; found low down in the pyramid 
rubbish it was probably lost by the workmen of 
Ramessu II when stripping the pyramid. 

The find of objects in a well of mastaba 8 has been 
described. The four alabaster bowls are all alike (15), 
though but one is perfect. The pottery (16) has a 
smooth dark red face. The shell (17) contains 
powdered blue carbonate of copper, as a paint ; and 
two similar shells empty were found with it. The 
needles (18, 19) shew the thin and thick types. The 
flints were all kept separate in lots as found, until 
they were examined ; they proved however to have 
been mixed together after manufacture, and re-divided. 
Mr. Spurrell examined them and succeeded in restoring 
the arrangement of seventeen in one block (20, 21), 
which shews the exact order in which they were struck 
off with unfailing regularity. The different types of 



flakes are shewn in '22 to 26. For the first time we 
have here dated flints as far back as the beginning of 
historic Egyptian archaeology. The three other flints, 
27 to 29, were found on the surface, among the desert 
stones ; but as there were a hundred more chances of 
their being dropped when the, place was crowded with 
workmen in Seneferu's time than since it has stood 
desert, there is a presumption in favour of their being 
of the IVth dynasty. The portion 27 is a knife 
handle of the type of those found at Kahun of the 
Xllth dynasty. 

S3. The pottery (Pls. XXX, XXXI) is quite dif- 
ferent from that of any later period that I have yet 
examined. The most distinctive point is the highly 
polished red face to the bowls, the thinness and 
hardness of them, and the sharp outlines (XXXI, 
2 to 6). This ware I have noticed before (Archaeo- 
logical Journal, 1883, p. 271) ; it is very fine, and all 
but equal to the best Roman, far better than what is 
called " mock-Samian." These bowls are the com- 
monest type of all, and are made both of this fine 
quality and also coarser ; in forms with beaded edge, 
or turned in or with a lip, (XXX 1-6, 9, 10, 12, 13, 36; 
XXXI, 2-6). A hard drab ware was also made 
(XXX, 1 1), and in some pieces it has been heated until 
the surface is half fused. It is certainly of the earliest 
here, as a piece was found in the waste heaps of the 
pyramid masons. The small cups on stems XXX, 
14, 16, are curious, and unlike later forms ; the bowls 
accompanied them, 15 with 14, and 17 with 16. In 
15 is a quantity of haematite paint. The other 
pottery with these was of early style. There is some 
doubt about No. 19 ; it was found isolated, and is 
much like some of the XXIInd dynasty. The tray, 
20, of very rough red pottery was evidently made to 
go on a pottery stand such as No. 21. The small 
vases and saucers 22 to 27 were all found in the 
filling of mastaba 18, from the offerings at the 
pyramid. Such are also found in the places of offer- 
ing at the tombs here, and at the pyramids of Gizeh 
and Dahshur. 

The occurrence of marks on pottery, so far back as 
the beginning of the IVth dynasty, must be taken 
account of, in considering the rise and origin of the 
marks so often found in the Xllth and XVIIIth dyn- 
asties. The figures here, Nos. 28 to 34, are all drawn 
the same way up as on the pottery. 28 and 30 do not 
occur in the signs I have collected before ; 29 may 
well be a part of the fine pointed star (Kahun, XXVII, 
182) ; 31 is the hieroglyph as ; and the cross in 32, 
33, 34, XXXI, 9, 27, is a naturally frequent sign. 

The deep pan 35 of rough brown pottery was found 
with the fine hard browny white bowl 36, and the 
rough light brown XXXI, 8 ; along with the ordinary 
kinds of red bowls, &c, in mastaba 22. 

54. In Pl. XXXI the bowl 4 is the only perfect 
example of the fine polished red-faced ware, though 
many pieces of this were found, varying somewhat in 
outline (2, 3, 5, 6, 7), Such pottery I have found at 
Gizeh of the IVth dynasty ; though from some of it 
being on the surface there, I was inclined to place it 
to the Roman age as well as the IVth dynasty. No. 9 
is one of three large pots found in the E.N.E. masta- 
bas, and bearing a cross on the shoulder and on the 
bottom ; these are roughish red pottery. No. 10 is 
bright red, not polished. 11 is of rough, thick, soft 
brown ware, 12 is a curious form of stem, not found 
in other cases here, and much like late pottery ; but 
its age is certain, as it was found in the stone-chip 
filling of mastaba 1 7. No. 1 3 is of -rough, hard, blackish 
red pot from the filling of mastaba 18, and therefore 
early. The rude hand-made pottery 15, 17, 19 is very 
characteristic ; it is constantly found in the tombs 
at Medum, and also in the rubbish heaps of Khufu at 
Gizeh. The form 15 is that which is shewn in early 
statuettes of a potter, squatting down and forming a 
pot with one hand inside and one outside. 17 is a 
very peculiar shape, the upper part being smooth, and 
the bottom always rough and irregular. From being 
always found by tombs it seems as if it were for 
setting in the sand to pour offerings in. No. 20 is of 
a hard pale red-brown ware, which is peculiar ; it is 
scraped all over the outside in various directions, and 
therefore seems as if it was hand made, although 
very regular. 2 1 is one of the large pans with a pipe 
spout, of which pieces occur in many groups here ; 
this is fixed to the date of Rahotep, as it held the 
mortar used for closing his tomb, and was found in 
the bottom of his pit. Other forms of spout are shewn 
in Nos. 22, 23. 24 is a thin bright red pottery; and 
25 is rough brown, with a curious ledge round the 
inside. Many pieces of rough limestone were found 
in the builders' rubbish about the pyramid, bearing 
large drilled holes (XXXI, 26). The holes are on 
both sides in most cases, without any order, often in- 
tersecting at the edges. It is certain this is a waste 
product ; and as it was produced by some body 
rotating under heavy pressure we are led to attribute 
it to some arrangement for moving the stones. Any 
.fixed crane or lifting machine would pivot on a large 
stone, or in the rock. But it seems possible that blocks 
might be moved by lashing them to the short end of 

F 2 



a lever bar, which rested on a pivot near the block ; 
by a gang of men pressing on the long end, the block 
would be lifted, and could then be transferred by the 
men walking and rotating the lever on its pivot. 
Such an arrangement would need a movable bearing 
to be shifted onward at each lift, and these blocks 
might well be for such bearings. 

The two vases 27, 28 were found in the rock-cut 
tunnel leading to the building of unknown purpose 
south of the pyramid. They are intermediate in 
character between the pottery of the IVth and the 
Xllth dynasties, and may well be of about the Vlth 
dynasty. The rough implement of black hornstone 
is one of two found in the rubbish of the destroyers 
on the east of the pyramid, at some distance from the 
base. It is therefore certain that these belong to the 
rude plunderers of stone in the XlXth or XXth 
dynasties. They are like some implements which I 
found at Gizeh ; those bore signs of having been 
worked up out of more ancient wrought stone, and in 
that case also therefore they were not of a primitive 

55. Dr. Gladstone, F.R.S., has very kindly favoured 
me with the results of his analyses of the metals which 
I collected at Medum. His report is as follows : — 

" I. The broken piece of an adze. The (freshly) 
broken face was very uniformly granulated ; while 
the outer surfaces were dark red, as from suboxide of 
copper. The specimen consisted almost entirely of 
copper ; only 0"38 p. cent, of arsenic was found, with 
traces of antimony and iron. There is some sulphur, 
no doubt from imperfect reduction of the ore ; but no 
phosphorus was detected, nor any tin. 

" 2. The borings from an adze from the well of 
Rahotep. (PL. XXIX, 11.) These again were almost 
wholly copper : o • 54 p. cent, of arsenic was determined, 
with traces of antimony, iron, sulphur, and probably 
phosphorus ; but again there was no tin. 

" 3. Piece of cylindrical rod found in mastaba 17. 
This consists of an internal core, and a dark outer 
ring. When examined under the microscope the core 
is found to consist of miscellaneous granules very 
various in colour ; the outer portion is also hetero- 
geneous, containing a red suboxide spotted with green 
and patches of blue. This was found to contain the 
large amount of 8 "4 p. cent, of tin, with mere traces 
of antimony, arsenic and iron ; no phosphorus was 
detected. This must, therefore, be looked upon as 
the earliest specimen of bronze. It is so very interest- 
ing that I am making a more complete analysis of 
the core, which I will send when ready. 

"4. The dark filings from a pick found at Gizeh. 
These were too small in amount to be examined with 
accuracy. They consisted however of copper with a 
little arsenic, and a trace of what may have been 
either tin or antimony." 

I should add that the specimen i was presumably of 
the IVth dynasty, or early, from the form, and being 
found at Medum. No. 2 is certainly of the old 
kingdom, and probably of early IVth dynasty. No. 3 
is the critical matter. It is a bit of rod hammered 
square with truncated edges, 0-37 across and about 
li inch long. The ends merely rough ; slightly 
tapering, and hollowed on the end, evidently the 
result of hammering out. The piece was found low 
down in the deep foundation filling outside the N.W. 
corner of mastaba 17 (see sects. 21-23); and, if this 
position is beyond doubt, it must be of the age of 
Seneferu, as the chips of the filling are the masons' 
waste from the pyramid. The only doubt can be on 
whether it fell in from above during the work, as I did 
not find it myself. The sides of the excavation were 
of brick wall, from which it could not come, only the 
filling at the ends could be in question. The con- 
cretions on it are of clean large grains of sand and 
chips of limestone, quite free from fine wind-blown 
surface dust, agreeing with its deposit in the bottom 
of the foundation space. The corrosion on it is very 
slight, indeed I have seldom seen bronze less attacked, 
and certainly not where it was in contact with earth : 
this strongly shews that it cannot have been dropped 
and lain on the surface exposed to danip and air in 
later times. And moreover no work was done at this 
part after the building ; no workmen appear to have 
been about this mastaba : and yet this is plainly a 
workman's piece, probably for a dowel ; and it was 
not a tool used by people in general. There is then 
no reason to doubt the evidence of it as being of the 
IVth dynasty. The presence of bronze in a stray 
piece, and not in tools, seems to point to some civilisa- 
tion external to Egypt from which it had come by 
trade. No 4 is from the tip of a pick, which I found 
concreted by stalagmite in a tomb at Gizeh never 
exposed since the pyramid period. 





By F. Ll. Griffith. 

56. Pl. VIII. The short inscriptions against the 
architect's lines read meh 5 (and 8) kher nefru {prkker 
n nefru and must mean " 5 (and 8) cubits (respectively) 
beneath the ground-level," or possibly "beneath the 
intersection (of the two lines)." The former render- 
ing, which suggested itself to Mr. Petrie, seems pre- 
ferable and leads to a good translation for a passage 
in the Papyrus Abbott (spoliation of the tombs at 
Thebes) p. iii. 1. 12. "It was found that the thieves 
had violated it (the tomb of king Sebekemsaf) tunnel- 
ing along the ground-level ? nefru of its pyramid from 
the exterior hall of the tomb of Neb- Amen." 

57. Pls. IX-XXVIII. The inscriptions of the 

In preparing this account I have referred to the 
plates of Mariette, Mon. Div. PL. 16-20, to the 
same author's Mastabas, pp. 468-487, ViLLlERS 
Stuart, Nile Gleanings, the notices in Baedeker's 
Handbook, and other sources of information, in order 
to ascertain what signs or groups could be recovered 
beyond those found still in place by Mr. Petrie. It is 
a pleasure to find that there is not a single sign in 
the new copy that one can regard with suspicion. 

Pls. IX-X. The titles of Rahotep, as given very 
fully on the architrave, may be compared with those 
upon the celebrated group of the husband and wife 
in the khedivial Museum {Mon. Div. Pl. 20, Mast. 
p. 487). Rahotep, who was a " king's son of his 
body" (his royal father's name is not stated), must 
have lived in the reign of Seneferu, or at the latest in 
that of Chufu. Three of his titles are of known 
import — "high-priest, ur ma, of the Sun at Helio- 
polis," " member of the Southern tens " (the tens 
being apparently the name of a council consisting of 
four tens, making forty members), and "captain of 
the host." As high priest at Heliopolis Rahotep was 
certainly one of the leading men in the Egyptian 
hierarchy, but " captain of the host " is a title that 
might apply to several military grades, general or 
local, although I suspect that Rahotep was com- 
mander-in-chief : " member of the Southern tens " 
does not imply a very exalted rank. Of the other 
titles, fourteen in number, which Rahotep bore, 
several are partially intelligible : from these, however, 

nothing of value can at present be deduced, excepting 
that some appear to denote authority in particular 

Turning now to the scenes, we see the king's son 
Rahotep accompanied by the lady Nefert, a " royal 
acquaintance." Upon the stela of the outer court 
(Pl. XII) is an inscription which probably is to be 
read " the royal acquaintance, the king's son of his 
body, who has attained the reward of merit, Bu-nefer." 
The name of this individual does not appear in the 
stone chambers of the tomb, and his connection with 
it is not explained. A rare peculiarity is that he 
should be called a " royal acquaintance " as well as 
" king's son." 

Rahotep's children are all designated "royal ac- 
quaintances." The sons are Atu, Deda, and Nefer- 
kau, the daughters Satet, Nedem-ab and Merert (Pls. 
XIII-XV). It has been reasonably supposed that 
the term "royal acquaintance" was appropriated to 
the grandchildren of kings : but there are a few cases 
in which a " royal acquaintance " or a " true royal 
acquaintance " is certainly not a royal grandson by 
either parent, so it is perhaps best to consider the 
phrase as denoting personal friendship with the 
king as opposed to mere formal intercourse. 

Rahotep and Nefert are " watching the chase " in 
the upper row of PL. IX. This scene, like all the 
others, is much abridged : we must imagine, what we 
can see in later tombs, that a portion of the desert 
has been fenced in, probably forming a decoy or 
battue-ground rather than a park. In the lower row 
" the stock-farms of the house of eternity " are pre- 
sented to their owners' view. The "house of eter- 
nity '' of any individual appears to mean the estate 
settled permanently for the construction and service 
of the tomb. 

In Pl. X they " watch the netting of waterfowl," 
in which diversion their sons "Atu " and " Deda" are 
actively engaged. 

Pl. XI. " Rahotep watches of the house of 

eternity" (compare PL. XXV for the same difficult 
expression). The men are spt " lashing " the planks ? 
of the boat together (spt is commonly used of binding 
together bundles of reeds to form rafts and boats), 
and mnkk " using the chisel," perhaps only to tighten 
the cords by forcing them on to a wider portion of 
the vessel. 

On the right side is the name " bullock ? " over a 
hornless beast, and on the left, behind the oryx, 
"bringing offerings," while over the animal is rn^ 
meaning perhaps "stall-fed." Next sotept "cutting 



off the choice portions " from an ox, and in the last 
compartment the mysterious expression per-kheru for 
" funereal meals ; " the first servant carries " wine," 
the legend before the second is " bringing sweet 

Pl. XII. In the second row two men are "carrying 
an aha (' fighting ')-fish." The accurate representation 
enables me to identify it as the keshr of the Arabs 
{Lates niloticus). This great species of perch attains 
a length of 5 feet according to Dr. Gunther in his 
work on the fishes of the Nile (printed in Petherick's 
Travels), but its extreme length is given as no less 
than 10 feet in the probably inaccurate account of the 
Description de I'Egypte, where it is figured {Hist. 
Nat. i. Pl. IX). Anyhow the artist at Medum is not 
guilty of serious exaggeration in allowing its tail to 
drag on the ground while its lip is raised level with 
the bearers' shoulders. The fish is named in the 
great medical Papyrus Ebers, and an argument for a 
different reading of the sign aha has been founded on 
an erroneous identification of the species, so this 
marvellous piece of early painting is of importance in 
more ways than one. 

In the next compartment is '" ploughing," and be- 
low are the domains, some of which we have already 
passed by in the preceding plate. 

In the very earliest tombs the estates of the de- 
ceased are named and represented as slaves, male or 
female according to the gender of the name. Later, 
in the Vth and Vlth dynasties they were all alike 
symbolised by female slaves, and after the end of the 
Old Empire they are no longer individually recorded. 
These names must have had very little stability and 
probably they seldom survived more than one or two 
generations, so that the record soon became meaning- 
less. Sometimes the names of the nomes in which 
the estates lay are mentioned, shewing that they were 
spread widely over Upper Egypt or the Delta, but 
at Medum there is no indication of their position. 
Those of Rahotep and Nefert (Pls. XI, XII, XV and 
one in XIII) are severally designated as " the temple," 
"the place of pots," "the red," the "herb-producer," 
"going-growing {crescit eundo)" "entrance-barred," 
etc., etc. 

Pl. XIII. In the niche is a prayer to Anubis that 
the deceased " may come to the West as possessing 
perfection," the West being the land of the sunset and 
of departed souls. 

Over the table of offerings are the names of " in- 
cense, green eye-paint, wine, figs," and other offerings 
are below. At the side are enumerated various sorts 

of linen, viz. neter, sunu and aa. In Pls. XVI and 
XX we see also dema, and in XX again nefer-res. 
Of each variety there are different qualities, marked 
e.g. 100, 9, 5, 3, 2, I (the numbers referring perhaps 
to the strands in the thread) and 1000 pieces of each 
quality are set down. 

At the sides there are wonderfully detailed lists of 
the furniture, accoutrements, and unguents belonging 
to the tomb. On the right are jars, perhaps of sacred 
oils, and vessels and other objects in uasmu (gold or 
electrum) and silver, the former metal preponderating ; 
amongst them is a ewer and basin of uasmu. On the 
left are vessels, also a sedan-chair utes, a footstool 
with sandals ? upon it ma, and various seats and stools, 
a table, a box hen, writing-case kher-a and draught- 
board sent. These named figures, will be valuable for 
reference in the future, but as yet there is not much 
possibility of illustrating them from other sources. 
It would appear that most of the names became 
obsolete soon after the IVth dynasty. The lower 
half on each side is occupied by things pertaining to 
the " treasure of the house of eternity." They include 
a second series of the sacred oils ?, and on the right 
are vessels principally of stone — " limestone ? ", " blue 
stone," " granite " and " alabaster." 

Pl. XIV. The animals are the oryx, stall-fed ? ren, 
the addax nudu, and the ibex naa. The last is led 
by a figure representing one of the estates, but the 
name cannot be read. The six figures below are the 
treasurer ? Demd, the butcher } Sen-ankh, Sesa, Dauf, 
Anta and Sabu. 

On the fragment from " Ra-nefer " we see some 
names or portions of names — Nebef, Rud, Kheft. 

Pl. XV. ; with the offerings of Nefert compare Pls. 
XI. and XIII. We may note especially that on the 
right side, top row, below the figure of a man pounding 
with pestle and mortar there is a clear representation 
of a pair of corn-muUers with the name akh: the 
same utensils figure in PL. XIII, top line on the left. 

Pl. XVI. Stela of Heknen, a " royal acquaintance." 
The confused inscription seems to be " his estate, the 
royal offerings which it brings daily : (the estates 
named) Sunu-ta and . . . ta, (the offerings) incense, 
sycamore-figs," etc. The fragment on the left runs 
" the ka-servant Persen," who was doubtless repre- 
sented with an offering. 

The lintel of mastaba No. 7 shews a number of 
titles which, so far as they are preserved, agree with 
those of Rahotep : the deceased was " captain of the 
host " and " superintendent of labourers ? " and of 
" transports ? " like Rahotep, and a fragment of a new 


title remains that probably refers to the neighbouring 
lake of the Fayum under the designation " lake of the 

On the other hand the titles of Nefermaat, whose 
inscriptions begin on the same plate, have no single 
point of contact with those of Rahotep. He must 
have been a greater man than the latter ; he was 
"eldest royal son, chief justice" and in the hierarchy 
*' priest of the goddess Bastet, of Khentsetet, of Khem, 
of Thoth and of the Mendesian ram " (compare Pls. 
XX, XXI). On PL. XX he is said to have " dis- 
charged ■ every priestly function : " he was also 
" superintendent of all works of the king." Nefer- 
maat held the general dignities implied by rpa, ha, 
ari-mkhen, and royal-treasurer ? and it is remarkable 
that Rahotep had none of these. 

Pl. XVII. Nefermaat's wife was "the royal ac- 
quaintance Atet : " the " royal acquaintance Nub " of 
Pl. XIX was perhaps a second wife. Their children 
were distinguished. The short titles of the eldest son 
Henan prove that he enjoyed several offices that were 
held also by Rahotep : the second, Asu, was am-a 
and priest of some goddess (Pl. XXIII), while the 
other members of this numerous family were called 
" friends of the king " semer or " royal acquaintances " 
rekh suten : their names are Ankherfend, Ankhresh- 
tef, Serefka, Teta, Khent (who appears to be entitled 
" superintendent of the lake of the crocodile " but the 
position of the signs makes this doubtful), Uhemuka, 
Shepseska, Kakhent, Deftsen, Atisen, Ankaf, and a 
daughter . . . gaut. 

Pl. XVIII. There is a fragment of a remarkable 
title in front of Nefermaat which was visible formerly 
also on the lintel of Atet (Pl. XXII). Mariette 
shews it more complete, and his copy is confirmed 
by the useful sketch of the niche in Mr. Villiers 
Stuart's Mle Gleanings, PL. G. It may be read 
perhaps ud ser neb " commanding every noble." 

Pl. XIX. The topmost figure on the left repre- 
sents the estate called Menat-Seneferu," nurse of the 
king Seneferu." It is noticeable that a city or estate 
near Beni Hasan, called "nurse of king Chufu," 
Chufu being the successor of Seneferu, played 
an important rSle in the early Middle Kingdom. 
Possibly this Menat- Chufu was an estate of the 
usual type to which the name clung with unusual 

Another estate-name on the same plate (bottom 
row) has been credited with being the earliest form 
of Medum. It contains the elements mtwn (deter- 
mined by an ox), and the conventional transliteration 

metun has a curious likeness to Medum ; but that is 
all: we do not know even whether Metun lay in 
Upper or in Lower Egypt. The modern name of 
the place was indeed sometimes written Medun by 
early European travellers ; the ears are often de- 
ceived as to m and n in a. new name or word, and 
Makrizi (Khitat i. p. 112), quotes from an older 
Arab author a passage referring to the pyramid of 
Medun (with n and short e) ! but both ancient and 
modern authorities, Makrizi i. p. 119, the list of 
villages published in De Sacy's Abdellatif, and the 
new census of 1882, give Maidvlm, corresponding 
exactly to the modern vulgar pronunciation M^dflm. 
Thus writers who are or were familiar with the place 
agree in final m; casual travellers may confuse the 
two sounds n and m in sl village-name, but natives of 
the place do not, so that it is useless to compare 
Metun with Maidum. There is better reason for 
supposing that Mertum (really pronounced Maitum) 
is the ancient equivalent of the name. Ancient t is 
constantly equivalent to modern d, and we know the 
position of the town from the inscription of Piankhi, 
which places it in this neighbourhood on the West of 
the Nile. Unfortunately there is no new evidence to 
shew for this identification, which was proposed long 

It must be remembered that the gaps in the scenes 
here, Pls. XIX, XXI, have been compressed in order 
to get them into the plate. This circumstance affects 
especially the list of offerings which must once have 
existed in front of the large figure of Nefermaat. 

Pl. XXI. It is unfortunate that the estate-name 
towards which Nefermaat is being carried is broken 
away : as Mr. Petrie has pointed out, it was com- 
pounded with the name of a king. In the bottom 
row a boar appears. During the IVth dynasty this 
animal was domesticated (tomb of Amten, L. D. II. 
pl. v.), and it is often seen in the earliest hieroglyphs ; 
but from the Vth dynasty onwards it is of extreme 

Pl. XXIV. In front of Nefermaat is a statement 
that has been translated " (the tomb) was made for 
his gods in writing that cannot be destroyed." 
Although this rendering may be thought question- 
able, there is no doubt that the passage contains a 
reference to the durable nature of the decoration. 

In the second column servants are "bringing 
wine " and " figs " : below are the products of the 
"stock farms of the house of eternity," and in the 
fourth compartment fowlers are bringing birds ? 
" coming forth from the papyrus-marsh." 



PL XXVII. In front of the fallow-deer is the 
legend "bringing the tribute of the house of 

PL. XXVIII. There is a "stall-fed?" addax in 
No. 3. The domestication of antelopes in the early- 
periods of Egyptian history is well known. 

58. The inscription on the base of a female 
statuette (Pl. XXIX, No. 6) probably begins at the 
side : " may her name [remain, established] in peace 
before Uadti mistress of Asheru, Khnumu, . . . ? 
Neb-Sau ? Horus ? and the gods (or Neb-sa and the 
cycle of gods) who are in Dad-Seneferu, for the ka of 
(the lady) Seneferu-Kheti, deceased, possessing per- 
fection." It is a prayer that the name of Seneferu- 
Kheti, represented by the figure, may remain before 
various deities of the place, whose titles are somewhat 
unusual. The chief value of the inscription lies in 
the place-name Dad-Seneferu. In a collection of 
wonder-tales, known as the Westcar papyrus, it is 
related that a magician dwelt there in the time of 
king Chu Fu. He was 110 years old and yet daily 
consumed the haunch of an ox together with 500 
cakes of bread and 100 jugs of beer. The legendary 
home of this extraordinary individual who bore the 
same name as one of Nefermaat's sons, may be fixed 
with tolerable certainty at Medum. 

No. 8 is an ostracon on which were jotted down 
some accounts : the entries are difficult to unravel. 
A name Apusenb and the style of the hieratic 
together point to a date about the beginning of the 
New Kingdom. 

59. In reading the graffiti reproduced on Pls. 
XXXII-XXXVI, the fact must not be lost sight of 
that a certain amount of restoration or alteration is 
allowable. The scribe's pen drawn over an irregular 
surface may leave a gap where there should be a 
continuous line or a blot where there should be no 
ink. Add to these considerations the faintness or 
complete obliteration of the originals in many places, 
and a ready explanation is forthcoming for any in- 
accuracies in the copies, which on the whole are so 
admirably legible. 

On PL. XXXII, No. I. reads " Thrice beautiful is 
the name of the King Seneferu " (which means 
" making beautiful "). 

No. II. " Sebekhotepemsaf," a private name pro- 
bably of the Xlllth dynasty. 

No. III. "The scribe Antifi 1 " 

No. IV. " Ameni." 

These early records are true graffiti, having been 
scratched on the stone : the remainder were written 

in two inks from the ever-ready palette of the 
Egyptian scribe. 

No. V. "Year 41, 22nd day of Mesore, under the 
majesty of the king Horus Strong Bull, who appears 
gloriously in Thebes ; the wearer of the two diadems, 
who prolonging his reign like the sun in heaven, 
the golden (victorious) Hawk who wields might, 
who prepares glorious visitations, the king of Upper 
and Lower Egypt, Menkheperra, son of the sun 
Thothmes III., who lives for ever to eternity upon 
the throne of Horus (as ruler) of the living. 

" Behold his majesty is as a young bull ... as a 
goodly youth of 20 years whose equal has not been 
produced : the god Menthu .? formed him for . . . : 
the god Turn . . . him : the universal lord created 
him : he is a mighty man very valorous in the field ? 
of [battle ?]. 

" The scribe Aakheperkara-senb, son of Amenmesu 
the scribe and reader (Jihei'-heV) of the deceased 
king Aakheperkara (Thothmes I.) came here to see 
the beautiful temple of the Horus (king) Seneferu : 
he found it like heaven within when the sun-god is 
rising in it : and he exclaimed, ' The heaven rains 
with fresh frankincense and drops incense upon the 
roof of the temple of the Horus king Seneferu.' 

" And he says, ' O every scribe, every reader, every 
priest, who reads this inscription, and all people who 
hear it, as ye would win the favour of your local 
deities, transmit your offices to your children, and 
be buried in the necropolis of Ptah-resanbef on the 
west (of Memphis), after old age and long life on 
earth — so say ye May the king give an offering, 
and may Osiris, god of Busiris the great deity, god 
of Abydos, and Ra Hru Khuti and Tumu god of 
Heliopolis, and Amen Ra king of the gods, and 
Anubis in the shrine, who dwells in the city of 
embalmment, the god of the west — give offerings, may 
they grant a thousand loaves of bread, a thousand 
jars of beer, a thousand oxen, a thousand fowls, a 
thousand offerings, a thousand provisions, a thousand 
packets of incense, a thousand jars of wax, a thousand 
bundles of linen, a thousand herbs, a thousand of 
every good and pure thing that heaven gives, that 
the earth produces, that the Nile brings from its 
source — to the ka of the Horus king Seneferu who 
has made good his claim ? before his father [Osjiris ? 
the great god lord of the sacred land, and to the 
goddess ?-queen Meres-ankh.' " 

The complimentary remarks on the temple are 
stereotyped phrases found also in the graffiti on the 
tombs of Beni Hasan. They are none too appro- 



priate in either case: the rock-cut tombs had no 
"roof" exposed to the drippings of heaven, and the 
bare walls of the Medum temple were but little like 
the sky at sunrise. I imagine that the expressions 
were considered the polite ones for admiring or 
wondering visitors to make on entering a house, at 
least I see no other explanation for their appearance 
under such incongruous circumstances. 

No. VI. Over the bird a name " Senefer(u ?)." 

No. VIII. "Year 26, 21st day of the 3rd winter 
month under the majesty of the king Menkheperra, 
son of the sun Thothmes III., living for ever. The 
scribe of measuring of the king Thothmes I., Aba ? 
. . . came and said . . . the (possessions of the) house 
of his father . . ." (there follows a list of land and 
products or offerings. It is unfortunate that this is 
so much mutilated). 

No. X. " The carver (decorative) Fai ? " 

No. XI. " The sculptor Au .?-senb." 

No. XIV. "May the king give an offering, and 
may the Horus king Seneferu, and Amen-Ra, king 
of the gods, and Ra-Hrukhuti ... all things ? grant 
glory ? in heaven, might ? on earth, drinking water in 
the mid ? stream, breathing the sweet air of the 
north breeze, to the ka of him who follows [the feet] 
of the master of the two lands, Neter-mesu, who 
renews life and has obtained the reward of faithful 
service i^eb amakJi)!' 

No. XVI. Record of a visitor, " son of Panehsi," 
shewing traces of the formulae as in No. I. 

No. XVII. " Year 30 under the majesty of the 
king Neb-maat-Ra, son of the sun Amenhotepu III., 
prince of Thebes, living for ever to eternity as king 
established in this whole land. The scribe Mai came 
to see the very great pyramid of Horus the soul ? of 
king Seneferu." 

No. XVIII. "Year 30 under the majesty of the 
king Neb-maat-Ra, son of Amen, resting on truth, 
Amenhotep III., prince of Thebes, lord of might, 
prince of joy, who loves him that hates injustice of 
heart, placing the male offspring upon the seat of 
his father, and establishing his inheritance in the 

This remarkable graffito suggests that the rule of 
inheritance through the female could be made an 
instrument of oppression by unscrupulous kings. A 
male heir would be more capable of defending his 
rights, and Amenhotep III. may have encouraged 
male succession as conducive of order : unless indeed 
the scribe refers only to some personal benefit gained 
in a suit against a female claimant. 

From these graffiti and from a quantity of other 
evidence converging on the same point, it is clear 
that the pyramid of Medum belonged to Seneferu. 
But there are questions still outstanding : this king 
was most extravagant in the matter of pyramids : 
not only was his pyramid a^ Medum "very great," 
but he had built another somewhere ! At Dahshur 
and elsewhere priests of the two Ma-pyramids of 
Seneferu are named, and the southern Ma-pyramid 
is expressly mentioned. Kha was therefore the 
name of each, but whether the pyramid of Medum 
was the southern or northern Kha cannot yet be 

One more remark : the graffito No. V mentions the 
queen Meresankh in such a way as to imply that she 
was wife of Seneferu. While accepting this pro- 
visionally, we must not forget that the scribe of 
1500 B.C. may not have known the queens of 3000 or 
4000 B.C. very accurately. 



By Dr. A. Wiedemann. 

60. The subject of the ancient eye-paint (mestem) 
was discussed from the literary side two years ago in 
va.y Aegyptologische Studien (Bonn, 1889, pp. 25-44), 
with some addenda in the Verh. der Berl. anthrop. 
Ges. (1890, pp. 48-50). Before proceeding to the 
study of the actual materials here, I may add some 
details which illustrate the uses of the kokl. The 
substance ua^, which often appears along with 
mestem, is named as early as in these tombs of 
Medum (PL. XIII) in Leps. Denk. II. 3 ; and both 
occur in two funereal inscriptions in the Louvre 
(c. 162, D. 59, in Pierret, Inscr. du Louvre, II. 59, 57) 
and on a coffin of the middle kingdom from Ekh- 
mim (Rec. 11, 142) ; it also appears in the usual 
lists of offerings in tombs, the examples of which are 
arranged by Schiaparelli (Libra dei funerali, 11, 342), 
from the time of Unas to the Roman age. Of the 
toilet boxes (described loc. cit. p. 35) there is an 
example with four divisions in Leyden (F. 50, Lee- 
man Mon. II, pi. 32) with the purposes of the various 
preparations stated. On one is "for opening of the 
sight," the second " for expelling the tears," the third 
" for expelling the flower " (herer), the fourth " daily 
eye-paint." Another toilet box is edited by Ebers 
{Die hierog. Schriftzeichen der A eg. p. 17) from the 



Wilbdur collection, bearing the inscriptions, " Inun- 
dation, for opening of the sight ; " " Season when the 
fields appear, for expelling all evil of the eyes ; " 
" Harvest, for throwing off the waters from the eyes," 
thus connecting the various cures with the Seasons. 
This probably belongs to the Middle Kingdom. Ac- 
cording to a statement, which is not perhaps worth 
much, in the inscription of Sehel discovered by Wil- 
bour, line 17, mestem and uai were brought from the 
interior of Ethiopia. With this we come to an end 
of our literary information at the present time on the 
ancient kohl. 

61. But while little advance has been made on this 
side, we have learned much more about the actual 
composition of the eye-paints : this is due to the 
active researches of Mr. Petrie, who in his Fayum 
excavations has found a long series of examples of 
kohl; with the advantage over previous specimens, 
from their place and age being known. Mr, Petrie 
had the goodness to entrust me with 30 examples ; 
and two others (31, 32) also found by him, I have 
obtained through Prof Ebers. Dr. Xaver Fischer 
undertook all the analyses, and will report (in the 
Jour.fiirprakt. Chemie) the results of his careful and 
exact work, which was carried out in the laboratory, 
and under the kind superintendence, of Prof Hilger 
at Erlangen. With Dr. Fischer's kind permission I 
now proceed to state those results of his that are of 
archaeological interest; for the more chemical details 
the original memoir should be consulted. As that 
however is not easily accessible to antiquarians, it 
seemed suitable to give here the results, which are 
valuable for the customs, and metallurgic and chemical 
knowledge, of the Egyptians. 

The specimens 1-8, 28-31 are from Kahun, 9-ro 
from lUahun, 1 1-27, 32, from Gurob. As to age, 6, 7, 
31 and perhaps 8 and 27, are of the Xllth dynasty ; 
32, and probably 28-30, from the XVIIIth ; 11-26 of 
the XlXth (18-22 being from the tomb with amulet 
of Nefertari) ; 1-5 of the XlXth or XXth dynasty 
from the tomb of Maket ; and 9- 10 of the Vllth 
cent. A.D., 11-13 were in a quadri-tubular wooden 
stand, of which one tube was empty. 

The general result is that antimony appears very 
rarely ; but galena (sulphide of lead) is very common, 
both unaltered and manufactured. The powdered 
sulphide was gently roasted, and left so, or mixed 
with a slimy vegetable solution (gum), and poured as 
a paste into pieces of reed. Thus the sulphide slowly 
oxidised so long as it was kept moist. A rarer paint 
was pyrolusite (sioft peroxide of manganese) which 

was powdered alone, or in mixtures. As substitutes 
we find oxide of copper (obtained from roasted 
carbonate) ; magnetite (obtained by partly reducing 
haematite with charcoal) ; and for a brown, iron ochres 
were used. The green powders are a mixture of 
finely powdered silicate (either native, or an artificial 
glass) with basic carbonate of copper ; this was doubt- 
less derived from the natural mixtures that are found 
in native chrysocolla, such as occurs in Gurob. This 
green powder (11) was in the wooden tubular stand 
with ochres in 12: and 13. 

The rounded grains of sand, and green and red 
crystalline chips which occur, are probably accidental. 
Resin is entirely absent ; and fats have disappeared, 
if ever they were present. Free sulphur which could 
be extracted probably comes from the galena, which 
commonly contains some. 

The eye-paints were sometimes wrapped in the 
leaves of dicotyledons ; but were usually placed in 
the stalks of graminiae, about as thick as the finger ; 
the internodes were cut just below the knot, and the 
half-liquid, salve-like mixture was poured into the 
tube thus formed. Vessels of alabaster or pottery 
were also used, both for the powders and for the 
pastes. The rods of paint that may be extracted are 
rather shrunk at one end, evidently having been 
slowly dried pastes or salves. The longitudinal 
streaks on such pieces are produced by the internal 
form of the reeds Used to hold the paste. 

62. The following are the various classes of ingre- 
dients found. LA. Galena {sulphide of lead), Xllth 
dyn. No. 7 ; XlXth, 14, 16, 18, 22, 24 ; XXth, 2, i>\ 
Coptic, 10. These are native galena, without sul- 
phate of lead, but with some sand and vegetable 
remains, oxide of iron, and traces of lime, manganese, 
and quartz. Nos. 14, 16, 24, also contained carbon. 
AH of these were loose powders, except 24, which 
was compressed dry in a reed, and had not therefore 
become oxidised, but is still friable. Two samples 
were quantitatively analysed, yielding 

No. 18. 

No 24. 


Pb S 



Peroxide of iron 


3 '40 









Vegetable matter 









99-73 99-64 

The oxide of iron and some other items were 
probably associated with the galena, but the carbon 
is perhaps intentional. The amount of iron points to 



a native lead ore being used. No. 3 is probably 
of this class, as lead was found ip the few grains 

/. B. Galena roasted, Xllth dyn. Nos. 8, 31; 
XVIIIth, 28, 30, 32; XlXth, 20, 23, 2,5, 26; XXth, 
I, S ; Coptic, 9, with molybdenum. In these the 
sulphide is partly changed by roastirig, and by 
subsequent oxidation while moist. Both free lead, 
and. free sulphur, are found; together with sulphide, 
sulphate, and sulphite, of lead. The chance im- 
purities are oxides of iron and manganese, ochre, 
calcite, and chlorides of magnesium and potassium. 
In No. 5 oxide of copper may be accidentally in- 
troduced from another powder. Nos. 20 and 26 are 
not homogeneous, and are divided here into 20 a, 
b, c, and 26 a, b. The most interesting are the 
following : — 

No. 26a. 

No. 26b. 


Pb S 

30-00 (or 32-00) 


Sulphate of lead 


53 10 


Oxide of iron 







Sand and quartz 




Chloride magnesium 




Chloride sodium 



Chloride potassium 



Sulphur free 







Vegetable matter 


Lime and manganese 

C^ Mn 





The presence of metallic lead, which abounds in 
other examples, along with the drossy pieces found 
in some specimens under the microscope, shew that 
the galena was roasted ; the iron and ochre may 
come from accompanying silicates ; the three chlo- 
rides may be intentionally added, as "sea salt," for 
species of natron, are named in the Ebers papyrus 
eye-salves. The lime is a white crust, derived from 
the alabaster vessels which contained it. Another 
piece of 26 contained a good amount of metallic le-ad. 

The principal ingredients of the following were 

No. 8. 

No. 23. 

No 25. 

No. 28. 



39 '43 

23 81 

29 '75 









Sulphate of lead 


43 '23 



• • 

Sulphuric acid 









The reduced lead in 23 and 28 results from rapid 
roasting. Nos. I, 5 and 30 are similar; 5 contained 
chips of malachite, perhaps strayed. 20 b contained 
sulphate of lead and sulphuric acid, in all 59.' 76 of 

lead, Nos. 31 and 32 are like 26. No. 9 is rerriarW 
able as containing sulphide of molybdenum, having 
lead 58-10, molybdenum 6-o\, sulphuric acid S"o6, 
and sulphur (as hydro-sulphuric acid) i'2.2, in 70*39 
per cent. But this specimen is of Coptic date. 

63. •//. Antimony. In No. 21, of the XlXth dynasty, 
there is 32 per cent, of antimony, beside 35 per cent, 
of matrix and some per cent, of quartz, and other 
chance impurities such as are usually found in lead 
powders ; but this is completely free from lead, and 
is antimonious sulphide Sb2S3. 

III. Ochre. XlXth dynasty, 12, 13, 15, 20 a; 
XXth dyn. 4. These are more or less mixed with 
quartz and plant remains, and are strongly ferrous. 
They are from reeds, and also wrapped in dicoty- 
ledon leaves. The green specks in some are perhaps 
sulphate of iron, oxidised from the pyrites which' 
occurs in clays. 

V. Manganese. Xllth dynasty, 6 ; XVIIIth, 29 ; 
XlXth, 26 c. In No. 6 is some oxide of copper, 
perhaps intended to darken the tint. In 29 is 20 
per cent, of Mn O2 along with other oxides of 
manganese, and small quantities of galena, oxide of 
iron, ochre and silica, so it is a powdered pyrolusite. 
In 26 c is some lead, perhaps from 26 a. 

V. Magnetite. XlXth dyn. No. 19, contains 
silica 59*64, magnetite (Feg O4) 26 '93, carbon 11 •83.' 
Iron I ■49. It is black and strongly magnetic; 
probably reduced from oxide of iron (haematite ?) 
by heating with charcoal, and mixed with sand and 
more charcoal. 

VI. Copper. Xllth dyn. ? No. 27, is oxide of 
copper, doubtless produced by roasting malachite. 
XlXth dynasty, Nos. 11 and 17 are malachite (car- 
bonate of copper), with white chips — perhaps artificial 
glass — and grains of sand. Perhaps the carbonate is 
artificial, but as it is the only Egyptian ore of copper 
this is less likely. Fischer points to a note in Zippe 
that the green patina on some Egyptian bronze is 
mainly a basic chloride of copper, corresponding to 
Atacamite. But this is not usual. 

64. Of the metals thus found the copper comes 
certainly from Sinai, where the mines were already 
worked by the Egyptians in the pyramid period ; 
Fischer points this out in his introduction, which con- 
tains a sketch of what was hitherto known on oriental 
eye- paints. The iron, which is scarce in Egypt, must 
also have been imported, probably from Sinai, scarcely 
from Kordofan or India. Antimony and lead are 
distant products, not being found in Sinai or Arabia. 
Mestem is said in inscriptions to come from the 

G 2 



Arabian coast, but that only proves that the Egyp- 
tians received it thence, not that it originated there. 
Similarly in later times Arabia was named as the 
home of such products as the cinnamon, which was 
only conveyed by the Arabs. Thus the lead and 
ajitimony were brought by them from India; and 
probably also the tin which was needed for making 
the bronze, which starts with the New Kingdom in 
Egypt. The galena was substituted for the rarer 
antimony perhaps in Arabia; and the manganese, 
copper, and magnetite were Egyptian substitutes, 
either openly or fraudulently ; for the true meaning 
of mestem is yet uncertain. 

In any case the analyses of Dr. Fischer have taught 
us something more important than the philological 
meaning of a word ; they have shewn us what mate- 
rials the Egyptians actually used for eye-paints, and 
provided evidence as to the primitive relations of 
trade between Egypt and India. Even if this were 
but indirect, through the Arabs, yet in conjunction 
with the apparently Phoenician graves just discovered 
by Bent on the Bahrein islands in the Persian Gulf, 
this gives us an entirely fresh insight into the relations 
of the people of the further east, in a time far before 
the so-called Greek period. 

[The above was kindly translated by Mr. Griffith, 
and I have with Dr. Wiedemann's sanction incor- 
porated one or two details bearing on the matter. I 
may add as a personal suggestion that the green 
uaf which accompanies the mestem in early times is 
the green carbonate of copper, which was used around 
the eyes as we see on early sculptures, and as I 
found on the mummy of Ranefer. Also I believe 
that the source of Egyptian tin was from Bohemia, 
Saxony, and Silesia. That the civilization of Europe 
was. in contact with Egypt before tin appears there, 
is now certain. That the European civilisation ex- 
tended to the north is also known from the northern 
objects at Mykenae. And as tin (in bronze) is found 
as early, or earlier, in Europe than in Egypt, we must 
rather suppose that it went from Greece to Egypt, 
than that it came from the east and was immediately 
transmitted in large quantity across the Mediterranean 
to the north, W. M. F. P.] 


By W. J. Russell, Ph.D., F.R.S. 

65. We shall consider here first the colours of 
purely Egyptian origin, as found in the town of 
Kahun (XII dyn.) and Gurob (XVIII-XIX dyn.) ; 
and then notice the examples of Roman age. 

The red pigments are all natural products and 
consist essentially of ferric oxide. The mineral from 
which they are obtained is commonest at Kahun, 
and is known as oolitic haematite. Some of the 
specimens are the mineral in its natural condition ; 
others, from Gurob, are apparently lumps of the 
same substance after being reduced to fine powder, 
and probably to some extent purified. A remark- 
able feature in all the natural specimens is that at 
least one side is perfectly smooth and curved ; had 
it been a fusible substance the inference would have 
been that it had been melted and cast in a mould. 
However, when the surface is carefully examined it 
is found to be marked with fine lines. These 
smooth surfaces seemed at first difficult to account 
for, but I have now no doubt that they were pro- 
duced by the ingenious way in which the pigment 
was prepared from the natural product. Instead of 
pounding or grinding the mineral they simply rubbed 
it in a curved vessel, or might be a hollow in a rock, 
with a little water ; fine particles were thus abraded 
and the water present gradually carried them down 
to the bottom of the vessel, from whence they could 
be easily removed. I have tried this way of pre- 
paring the pigment, and found it to answer admir- 
ably. I took one of the specimens with a curved 
smooth surface and rubbed it in a large porcelain 
mortar with a little water, and thus with the greatest 
ease obtained a wet powder which at once could be 
used, without addition of any other medium, as a 
pigment ; for it adhered to paper, to wood, and to the 
fingers, with wonderful pertinacity, and alone it dried 
up to a powder very similar to some of the specimens 

No doubt the specimens of haematite were care- 
fully selected ; they differ somewhat in texture, but 
very little in tint. One sample contained 79- 11 % 
of ferric oxide, and another 8 1 • 34 %. 

The yellow pigments are found at Gurob, and are 
also entirely derived from native minerals, iron 
ochres. They contain oxide of iron, which is again 



the colouring constituent, in a hydrated condition 
and mixed with a certain amount of silica and 
alumina, and traces of other substances. The colour 
is very permanent, but varies considerably in different 
specimens. In some cases it is a light yellow, in 
others of a much warmer tint. 

' 66. The lilue pigments are mainly from Gurob, 
and those of Kahun are inferior : they are by far the 
most interesting ones, for they are artificial pro- 
ductions, and hence their existence may serve to 
indicate to some extent the manufacturing skill and 
knowledge of the producers. They vary greatly in 
tint ; Mr. Petrie having found some of a light and 
tolerably pure blue, others of a strongly greenish 
blue, and some specimens of a very fine and slightly 
purplish blue. All the specimens are of the same 
character and are what are known as frits, that is a 
kind of unfused or rather semi-fused glass. The 
ingredients composing these frits are the same as 
those found in glass, but the heat to which they have 
been exposed is only sufficient to cause combination 
of the constituents to take place, but not sufficient to 
bring the whole mass into a liquid state. 

Mr. Petrie was fortunate enough to find several 
large pieces of these frits ; and in every case they 
had a smooth and curved surface, exactly similar to 
the curved and smooth surfaces of the haematite ; 
and again I found that a powder which exactly 
corresponded to the blue pigment which was used, 
could with ease be obtained by rubbing the specimen 
in a large mortar with water. It is to be hoped that 
some of these vessels where this rubbing of the raw 
material took place in the preparation of these paints 
will before long be found. 

As before mentioned, there is a great difference in 
the tint existing in the different specimens, and often 
the same specimen will have strangely different 
colours in different parts. Most of the specimens 
were of the well-known delicate greenish blue colour, 
a few were of a stronger green colour, and one small 
specimen was of a splendid rich blue tending towards 
red, I imagine much the same tint as the so-called 
Alexandrian purple. This specimen was wholly of 
this colour, while others had the colour only in part, 
and none I think were so brilliant in colour as this 
small piece. 

That copper was the colouring-matter in these 
frits there could be but little doubt ; the only 
question was with regard to the purple one just 
mentioned. Most of the blues produced by silicates 
of copper have a greenish tint, but this one was 

quite free from it, and resembled exactly a frit easily 
produced by cobalt ; but no trace of cobalt was 
present. There seemed so many points of interest 
with regard to the production of these different 
coloured frits, for instance how exactly they were 
made, what sort of furnace would be necessary, and 
how it happened that they were at that time, with 
their comparatively rude apparatus and imperfect 
knowledge, able to obtain so many different shades 
of colour, — that I was led to try to imitate exactly 
the specimens which Mr. Petrie had found. The 
purple was the most difficult to reproduce, but I have 
made it, and it is quite equal' in colour to the original. 
The others were, after experience had been gained as 
to the general method to be employed, readily pre- 
pared ; and there is no difficulty in considerably 
extending the number of colours which can readily 
be obtained by the same process. The colours are 
all very stable, they do not fade, and are not acted 
on by even strong acids. 

With regard to the necessary appliances for making 
these frits, judging from the large size of some of the 
pieces found, we must conclude that considerable 
quantities of material were acted on at once ; and it 
is certain that the materials to form the frit must 
have been raised not only to a red heat, but also 
have been maintained at that temperature for several 
consecutive hours. 

Up to the present time I believe furnaces for 
accomplishing this have not been discovered. I can 
only express an ardent hope that before long we may 
learn in what form of furnace this making of the frit 
was conducted. The operation was not devoid of 
difficulty. The materials they used were silica, 
which was the principal constituent, and formed 
perhaps 60 to 80 % of the whole mixture ; then 
there was the copper to give the colour, no doubt 
merely the crude mineral, but almost any salt of 
copper would produce the same effect. The other 
ingredients are alkali and lime. The amount of 
alkali is small ; I used in my experiments 10 % of 
potassium and sodium carbonates. These ingre- 
dients have to be well mixed together ; and then 
carefully heated in a crucible of some kind to pro- 
tect them from the direct action of the gases given 
off by the burning wood, otherwise the frit would 
become more or less black. Again, a certain regu- 
lation of temperature would be required, for if the 
fire were not hot enough the necessary chemical 
changes would not take place, and on the ether hand 
if the temperature became unduly high the materials 



would fuse, and a hard glassy body would be formed ; 
such a body could not be reduced to powder by the 
rubbing as above described, and it is of much interest 
to note that every specimen of the frits that I have 
seen has been in the friable condition, and not in this 
glassy state ; this shews that they had not been ex- 
posed to a high temperature ; and also that only a 
small amount of alkali was used in their preparation. 
I have found no difficulty in preparing all the imita- 
tions of the frits in this friable state, so that on 
rubbing they can be readily reduced to powder. In 
certain cases a high temperature would also decom- 
pose the copper compounds, and give a more or less 
black instead of a blue frit. The colour of the frit 
depends principally, but not altogether, upon the 
amount of copper it contains. I found I could 
imitate a very delicate greenish blue frit with a 
mixture of 3 % to 5 % of copper carbonate : another, 
and deeper coloured, specimen was exactly imitated 
by a mixture containing 10 % of copper carbonate : 
and the imitation of the Egyptian purple was pro- 
duced when 20 % of the copper salt was used, but the 
colour is much affected by the temperature at which 
the heating has been carried on, and also by the 
length of time of heating. Again, the amount of 
lime, and presence of small quantities of iron, also 
affect the colour to a great extent. No doubt the 
desert sand was used, and I am informed that at 
different places it can be obtained either white, and 
it is then free from iron, or deeply coloured, and it 
then contains much iron : at all events it is certain 
that a very small amount of iron modifies the colour 
to a very considerable extent. If the ordinary red 
sand was used, then there was always a greenish blue 
frit produced. The most common of the blue pig- 
ments are the ones most easily produced, and contain 
comparatively small amounts of copper, perhaps 3 to 
10 % ; the ordinary brown sand was probably used 
in preparing them, and lime in some form was added. 
The copper compound thus produced very readily 
and quickly forms, and is not altered even if exposed 
to a high temperature, or a long continued heat. 
The green frits, the darker and purer blue ones and 
the purple ones are not formed quite so easily. The 
green ones may be produced by the presence of iron, 
the simplest way of preparing such as I have seen is 
simply by using a very red sand, and about the same 
amount of copper as gives the greenish blue frit ; but 
the green colour can also be produced by copper 
alone, but in this case the quantity must be larger 
than what is required to produce the light blue frits, 

and a careful and not excessive heating is necessary. 
The green appears before the frit has come to its 
permanent colour, and on continued heating passes 
away. In some of Mr. Petrie's specimens there is a 
beautiful mixture of colours ; in a small area you find: 
a brilliant blue colour and a delicate but strong 
green. I have often obtained exactly analogous 
results, and some of great beauty, in the frits I have' 
made ; different copper compounds are formed, their' 
formation arising from accidental differences of tem- 
perature or mixture. I have no doubt these effects 
in the Egyptian specimens are purely accidental, and 
are produced in mixture made with 10 % or more of 
copper carbonate. When the amount of copper is 
increased to 15 or 20 %, and about an equal amount 
of lime is present, then the purple frits can be formed, 
but this is a somewhat more delicate operation. The 
amount of copper present 4s so much larger that it 
takes much longer to convert it wholly into silicate, 
and the range of temperature at which it forms is 
more restricted than in the other cases, but there is 
no real difficulty in forming it. At the same time I 
doubt whether the Egyptians ever made this purple 
as a sole product, the only piece of frit which was 
entirely of this colour that Mr. Petrie has found was 
not so large as the first joint of a little finger, and the 
other pieces of that colour occur in larger specimens, 
and are simply local, the rest being of a darkish blue 
or blue green colour : in a word, its formation in 
these cases was certainly accidental. With modern 
appliances I have been much interested in carrying 
out still further this same process for preparing 
different coloured frits, and many are the tints in - 
addition to those known to the Egyptians which 
have been produced. In fact every shade of colour 
from a pure and very delicate light blue to a very 
dark indigo blue can be made, and again from a pure 
blue every shade of green and blue to a strong 
green ; many of these green blues are remarkably 
forcible in colour and delicate in hue. 

[I have since found part of a dish of frit at Tell 
Amarna, which had been broken and withdrawn 
from the furnace before complete combination. The- 
pan was of rough pottery, shallow, about 9 inches 
across ; probably covered with a tile to keep off the 
reducing flame, as the edges are turned black. It 
was supported by the edges resting on cylindric pots 
inverted in the furnace. The frit is of a lilac-blue. 
The uncombined silica is in large translucent splin- 
ters, from quartz pebbles, quite white. The mass 
was blown up while pasty, by about an equal volume 



of gas, shewing that the! litne and alkali were used 
as carbonates. I have also found many pieces of 
broken pottery with blue paint in them, suggesting 
rthat the frit and probably the haematite was ground 
in a concave potsherd.— W. M. F. P.] 

67. We now proceed to the pigments of the Greco- 
Roman age, of which samples were found at Hawara. 
These are of interest, as such colours appear to have 
been used, mixed with wax, by the painters who pro- 
duced the portraits discovered there ; and they are 
-probably similar to the colours used by the great 
Greek artists. 

These pigments were obtained from six pots of 
paint found in a burial; the pots had been undis- 
turbed and evidently were just in the same state, as 
when last used by the owner. In some of the pots 
but little of the paint remained, but in others a Con- 
siderable amount. The marks of the brush with 
which the paint had been removed were still perfectly 
evident. Mr. Flinders Petrie gave me a small speci- 
men of each of the six pigments ; thej' are a dark 
red, a light red, a pink, a yellow, a blue, and a white. 
The specimens being so nearly in the condition in 
which they had undoubtedly been used as paints, 
gave them a special interest. 

The Dark Red Pigment. — It has precisely the colour 
of the burnt sienna of the present day, and is identical 
with. it, consisting of ferric oxide. Like the modern 
burnt sienna it does not dissolve completely in hy- 
drochloric acid, and like it, leaves undissolved floc- 
culent mineral matter and a little silica. No doubt 
it was prepared from natural iron ochre by heating, 
and afterwards grinding it ; similar operations to 
those carried on at the present day for preparing 
this pigment, and in fact this Egj^ptian colour is 
indistinguishable from a sample of burnt sienna 
purchased at the present time. 

Light Red Pigment. — This is an oxide of lead, and 
is known as red lead or minium. It is prepared by 
heating in the air, to a temperature of dull redness, 
lead, oxide of lead, or lead carbonate. It is some- 
what paler in colour than the ordinary red lead of the 
present day, but it has some dust and sand mixed 
with it. 

Yellow Pigment. — This is an iron ochre of a light 
yellow colour. On heating it darkens and becomes 
of a dull red colour. The dark red pigment, already 
described, was probably made from this mineral by 
heating it. This specimen of the yellow pigment 
has apparently been mixed with some oil or wax, 
no doubt as a medium, for on heating it white 

■furties, such as 'come from organic matter are given 

The White Pigment consists of calcium sulphate or 
gypsum. It is very tenacious, but is easily cut or 
scraped with a knife. It has apparently been ground 
and carefully prepared for use, and in its present state 
would work smoothly and well ; and as a pigment it 
could be used for many purposes simply on mixing 
with water. 

Pink Pigment. — This is a most interesting pigment 
-belonging to a different class of bodies from all the 
others : they are mineral compounds, whereas this 
pink colour is due to an organic substance. The fact 
that, even under favourable conditions, an organic 
pigment should have existed for this length of time 
is of interest ; and I think there is good reason to 
suppose that it has not only existed, but has under- 
gone little or no change of tint during this loijg 
period. On heating this pigment the colour is im- 
mediately destroyed, a slight empyreumatic odour is 
given off, and a white mass remains, apparently equal 
in quantity to the original substance. This residue is 
calcium sulphate, the same substance as the white 
pigment. The colour is therefore due to a very small 
amount of an organic body which coloured the gyp- 
sum, an amount too small to be recognised by chemi- 
cal analysis. I therefore endeavoured synthetically 
to determine the nature of the colouring matter which 
gave to the calcium sulphate its peculiar tint. Mad- 
der as a vegetable colouring matter which has been 
known from the earliest time, naturally suggested 
itself; and with some madder root I was able to 
prepare a pigment which agreed in tint and in all its 

■ properties with the Egyptian one. It is readily pre- 
pared in this simple way ; madder is boiled with 
water ; the liquid cooled and strained ; and this 
strongly coloured liquid well stirred up with calcium 
sulphate. The colouring matter adheres strongly tb 
the gypsum, and if it be allowed to dry, and is then 
powdered, a substance is obtained of the same coloiir 
as the Egyptian pink, the shade of colour depending 
simply on the strength of the madder solution. Al- 
though ordinary chemical analysis could not identify 
the colouring matter in this case, it seemed to me highly 
probable that I could confirm this view of the nature of 
the colouring matter by means of spectrum analysis, 

■ for it is well established that the colouring matters 
derived from madder root are characterised by very 
definite absorption spectra. As this Egyptian colour- 
ing matter appeared to be so little changed, it was 
quite possible that even the small amounts which I 



had at my disposal might yield at least the marked 
and well-defined absorption spectrum of purpurine. 
I first tried the experiment with some of my imitation 
pink pigment ; it gave on boiling it with alum solution 
very marked absorption bands which I proved, by 
comparing them with a purpurine solution, to belong 
to that body ; and on treating the Egyptian pigment 
exactly as I had treated my imitation of it, it was 
satisfactory to find similar absorption bands, which 
leaves no doubt as to the nature of this colour, and 
shews how little the colouring matter has changed in 
the many centuries of its existence. 

The remaining colour is a blue pigment. It is a 
frit, or unfused glass, finely ground. The colour it 
possesses is owing to the presence of copper, like the 
frits previously described. It is a remarkably stable 
compound, being practically unattacked even by strong 
acids, and unchangeable by the action of light. 


By W. E. Crum. 

68. The Coptic MSS. which Mr. Petrie brought, 
3 years ago, from the Fayyum, form a collection very 
similar to those in Berlin and Vienna, though less 
extensive than either of these. They have in common 
the same curious anomalies in regard to dialect and 
the same, as yet insurmountable, difficulties of in- 
terpretation. As with all Coptic literature, their 
monastic origin is evident. Yet even the hypothesis of 
monasteries with extensive circles of correspondents, 
seems hardly a satisfactory explanation of the extra- 
ordinary dialectual variety discernible in so com- 
paratively small a body of texts. Of the six recognised 
dialects, four — perhaps five, — are represented, not to 
mention the several intermediate, local forms which 
some of the fragments exemplify. One can not but 
incline to Erman's opinion (Hermes, XXI) that 
supply and demand of modern commerce have been 
the main cause of the accumulation in the Fayyum of 
documents which had their origin in widely different 

The only attempt made as yet to deal with the 
Coptic " Fayyum " Papyri is that of Stern {Aeg. 
Zeitschr. '85) ; for Krall (Mitth. a. d. Sammlg. Erzh. 
Rainer, passim) has confined himself to some of the 
more frequent formulae, place-names &c. But little 
light has since been thrown either upon the vocabulary 

or grammatical forms, which still seem as foreign to 
those of the " classical " dialects as they 6 years ago 

The material upon which our texts are written is 
either Papyrus, Parchment or Rag-paper ; the first 
appearing, for all purposes, in a great majority, the 
second used, (with one exception,) for purposes not 
merely ephemeral, and the third exemplified only by 
one or two epistolary fragments of late date. Some 
of the Papyri are palimpsests ; while a number bear 
two distinct texts, one upon each face. In one in- 
stance, half a sheet, of which one side had remained 
clear, has been employed by a second letter-writer, 
who ends with the postscript ; " Blame us not because 
I (sic) have not been able to find a clean papyrus, 
worthy of your Honour." 

Chronologically the Collection covers probably a 
considerable period, although not a single date can 
be cited or inferred. There may be palseographical 
reasons for placing one of the parchments not later, 
than the 6th century ; otherwise the texts would 
seem to range from the 8th to the loth centuries ; 
the frequency of the Arabic fragments forbidding an 
earlier, the rarity of paper a much later boundary. 

The following are the Dialects met with in the 
Collection, in the order of their frequency: — i. Fay- 
yumic ; 2. Lower-Sahidic, probably from Memphis 
and its neighbourhood ; 3. Sahidic ; 4. Boheiric, with 
its characteristic guttural letter, which seems not 
to occur in the Vienna (z/. Mittheilungen II, 57,) or 
Berlin texts ; 5. Achmimic* The presence of the 
fourth only of these can be doubtful, in so far as the 
two texts in which the characteristic letter occurs, do 
not exemplify the dialect in its pure form, but bear 
clear traces of a more southern influence. 

69. The documents may be classified, on the basis 
of subject-matter, as follows : — 

A. Biblical fragments. One example only, being 
at the same time the sole instance of the Achmim 
dialect. A small leaf of thin parchment (4 x zh in.), 
paged ujiH and COI0, bears w. 17-20 of the Epistle 
of Jude ; while the quarter of a similar leaf has the 
Epistle of James, iv. 12, 13. These are the only 
traces, as yet recognised, of the Achmimic New 
Testament. The text is in single column, and 
written in so archaic a character, — the 4th plate (de 
la Zouche) of Hyvernat's "Album " may be compared, 
— that the 6th century would not seem too early a 

* Dr. Steindorif points cut that the Graffiti {Recudl xi, 145) at 
Achmim are the best confirmation of the accepted " provenance " of 
this dialect. 



date for these valuable fragments. When compared 
with the Sahidic and Boheiric versions, our text is 
seen to stand in close relation to the first, while the 
second comes, of all, the nearest to the Greek. 

B. Other theological texts. Part of a parchment 
leaf has preserved two columns of what appears to be 
a homily (somewhat in the manner of Jesus Sirach,) 
upon the domestic virtues of women, and the futility 
of hoping to atone for their loss by the display 
of other qualities, if once the husband have ground 
for mistrust. The dialect is pure Sahidic, and the 
character an Uncial not unlike that of F. Rossi, Tre 
Manoscritti, tav. II. Upon a fragment of Papyrus, 
of late date, can be recognised the remnants of the 
story of Athanasius and Arsenius, bishop of Hypsele, 
whose hand the former was accused of cutting off 
and using for magic purposes. The groundlessness 
of the charge was proved at the» Synod of Tyre. 
(See Hefele, Conciliengeschichte, I. 458, 464. I have 
to thank Prof. Harnack for this identification.) 

70. C. Letters. This section embraces so large a 
majority of the fragments, that the remaining texts 
may be looked upon merely as exceptions. Un- 
fortunately there are but few of the letters which 
approach completeness in preservation, and none 
which do not present great difficulties to the trans- 
lator. They are for the most part in the Fayyum 
dialect, and, of course, in a character much more 
cursive than that of the texts described above. 
Ligatures are nevertheless not so frequent as in 
Sahidic MSS. ; many of the fragments are wholly 
free from them. In one instance a Papyrus letter, 
of not more than ordinary importance, is written in 
a very fine uncial script, the same being the case 
with the only letter in the collection upon parchment. 

The correspondence is wholly monastic ; indi- 
viduals being rarely mentioned without the title 
Monk, Brother, Deacon, Apa, or Presbyter. Other 
ecclesiastical dignitaries, such as Bishop, Archi- 
mandrite, Hegemon, also occur. Yet there does not 
appear to be any monastery named which might help 
to Jocalise the writers ; while but few of the place- 
names which do occur, can, as yet, be identified. 
Almost all the letters begin with a formula of 
greeting ; " In God's Name ! (var. With God !) 
First of all I greet and enquire for (var. embrace) 
the health of thy God-loving Fatherhood (var. 
Brothership, Sonship,) and thy whole company (or, 
all the Orthodox). Further, I inform thee, &c." 
In some cases this is more elaborate and mentions 
by name the various inmates of the cloister whither 

the letter is directed, adding in a Postscript, such as 
may have been overlooked. The matters dealt with 
appear to be chiefly commercial or financial affairs in 
which the writer or his monastery are concerned. 
They are often dispatched very summarily, a single 
short letter referring' to half a dozen points, each 
with its introductory XlITOrt (A.otTroi'). 

The following may serve as a specimen of the style 
and form usually adopted by the correspondents. 
Great uncertainty as to the meaning of several words, 
added to the incompleteness of the text, make a 
fuller translation very difficult. 

" With God ! I greet and embrace the well-being of 
my god-loving, reverend Lord Brother . . . and I 
greet the whole company, that is to say, the Elders. 
Repose thy saintly Spirit in the Lord Jesus Christ, 
, . . from God. And now (lit. Thereafter) my Lord 
Brother, behold, (here is) the Deacon, Apa Cyrus, 

(and) I have sent thee the ? (cargos ? or salt ?), 

namely those with which thou art used to favour me. 
Send the Deacon, Apa Cyrus that he may lay them 
before Apa Jacob, till the Deacon Pisynthius comes 
and takes them . . , An answer, if thou desire it 
afterwards, ... I greet my Lord Brother fairly, 
(k^Xoc sic^ according to God's will. Farewell in 
the Lord ! " 

71. D. Accounts, Lists, &c. Though few in 
number, the examples of this class are of consider- 
able interest. The most remarkable is a large 
fragment which bears, in double column on both 
faces, the names of workmen and others and the 
sums paid them during the " Inundation " and 
summer months. Among them appear Gardeners, 
Agricultural labourers, Shepherds, Camelherds, 
Bakers, Carpenters, Potters, Smiths, Washermen, 
Messengers, Watchmen. Several persons receive 
payment, although the services rendered are not 
stated. Some of those employed are monks ; " the 
Deacon Georgios, the Carpenter," "Apa Petros, the 
Gardener." Several bear, moreover, the names of 
their villages, and from these we see that the mon- 
astery was not confined, for the supply of its needs, to 
the immediate neighbourhood, since the localities 
identifiable range from Lake Moeris to the Bahr 
Yusuf This document has striking similarity with 
a Papyrus in Oxford, brought from Sohag, but 
probably originating, (as its place-names and dialect 
indicate,) in the Fayyum. 

Another Papyrus, in a very fragmentary condition, 
seems to bear monastic accounts in which the 
measure of value is throughout KOirpi, the identifica- 




tion of which with the Greek measure of capacity 
Kovpi, Kopo'i, ')(op, I owe to Professor Wilcken, who 
adds that it is frequently to be met with in Greek 
MSS., especially in connection with wine. Although 
the latter repeatedly occurs in our Papyri, as an 
article of commerce, there is, in the present text, no 
trace of it, Kep^-JULIA. (Kepafieia) and E-IXTIIti. (?) 
being the only words, still legible, to which the 
figures might be supposed to refer. 

Upon another fragment the Catalogue (XoTOc) of 
a monastic library is partially preserved. It has 
included the canonical books of the New Testament, 
in several copies and in Greek as well as Coptic ; the 
Psalter, also in both languages, besides theological 
works such as "The Rules of Apa Petros," both 
Coptic and Greek " Mystica," works (?) of Syrianus, 
as well as " Reading Books " (presumably Kara /xe/jo?, 
lectionaries). Some of the books are of Parchment 
(jULeqpcjort sic), others of Papyrus (^A.pTrHc). 
Others are followed by the epithets neT^-Xoit or 
i-TIieT^Xort, the exact meaning of which it is 
difficult to determine. Prof. Wilcken suggests that 
they perhaps serve to distinguish Books consisting 
of leaves and Rolls of papyrus. 

Of the Proper names which occur, little need be 
said ; they are those which we are used to find borne by 
the Copts, e.g. 0-ffertA.£.ep (Ovvw<^pL'i), nic-ffifri 
(Ileo-w^to?), ElKTUjp (Victor), ^i.HX ([MtJ^cw^X), 
UA-PKOc; less common are Uo'ffce^pi,* Hl- 
Xa.JU.JU.U3, ^CUpe- The Place-names, on the 
other hand, are of interest, and, in some cases, 
recognisable still in their Arabic forms. Arsinoe, 
under its Greek form, does not appear. It seems, in 
one instance, to be represented by ni<LJU., the name 
which otherwise designates rather the district than 
its capital (but v. Quatremere, Mems. I, 391). Else- 
where the same town is referred to merely as noXiC, 
"the City." EUahun — Xeg^tJUni is met with several 
times. Among the less important localities one need 
scarcely hesitate to identify TcffTtUlt with the 
modern ^jlaJ (Schweinfurth, " Tutun "). Ho'ff.LeiZs. 
may be compared with laj.y (de Sacy, Abdallatif, 
p. 685, note), iyKni.pU3 with jjja«» (11. 683). 

* Here masc., but see Wilcken, Sitzungsber. d. Berl. Akad., 1883, 

KepKeccff^oc is already known from Greek 
sources (v. Aeg. Zeitsch. '83, 162). Further, the 
names TA.ncyeei, neX6ica3K, ncA.^eT ("the 
Wall"), recur sufficiently often, either in this collec- 
tion, in Berlin or in Oxford, to establish their 
existence, although their identification be not easy. 

[Note. — Mr. Petrie gives the following details as 
to the above localities. "Tutiln is 10 m. S.W. of El 
Medinet ; Bawit is 7 m. W. of Derut (27° 39'), and 
has large Coptic ruins ; Tansi is 18 m. S.E. of El 
Medinet." The last may represent our TA-Hcgeei- 
Sfinru should not be confounded with Senftres, lying 
some 8 m. to its N.E. All the MSS. come from El 
Hamim near Ellahun.J 

Postscript to Chap. III. p. 27. 

I AM desirous of making a correction to § 45 con- 
sequent on a more careful and extended examination 
of the inlaid colours than time allowed before Mr. 
Petrie left England. I found the globular grains of 
gum in all the specimens but the white. The gum 
being insoluble in water, was probably pounded, 
mixed with the paste, and heated to boiling point in 
the endeavour to dissolve it ; but no more could thus 
be accomplished than to bring it to the half melted 
globular form. The gum comes nearest to Mastick 
by tests, and especially imitative preparations. It 
was doubtless new at the time of using, but changed 
very much since, as it will no longer soften in boiling 
water, as it must once have done. It is probable 
that it was used instead of gum arable, or ignorantly 
mixed with it. Some of the pieces of colour, which 
had not been examined, were very hard. These 
yielded an animal matter, which answered com- 
pletely to gelatine, precisely as the extract does from 
some of the bones from tombs of the same age. I 
therefore conclude that the gum used having been 
found incapable in places of retaining the pastes, 
gelatine or size in some form was applied to the 
surface of the paste, which it penetrated to varying 
depths, thus ovei'coming the difficulty in part. The 
whole process was evidently experimental. 

F. C. J. Spurrell. 



Aboriginal burials . . . 20, 21 
Alabaster vessels . . . 18, 20 
Amenhotep III graffiti . . 41 
Analyses of copper . . .36 
„ kohl . . .42, &c. 

Animals in sculptures . . 37, 38 
Ankh, origin of .... 33 
Antimony, eye paint ... 43 
Arch in Rahotep's tomb . . 16 
Architecture of third dynasty 

30, 31 
Atet, sculptures of (see Nefer- 
mat) 26, 39 

Blocking of mastaba cham- 
bers 15-, 16 

Blue paint . . . . 18, 29, 45 
Bones of animals in mastabas 17 
Brickwork removed intention- 
ally 19 

Bronze, analysis of. . . . 36 
Bunefer, stele of .... 37 
Burials, mode of . . . 20, 21 

Cartouche, origin of 
Causeway . 
Chancellor, sign for 
Character of Egyptians 
Chessylite . 
Colours inlayed 

„ nature of 

„ Roman 
Columns, forms of 
Contracted burials 
Copper analyses 

„ carbonate 18, 

„ eye paint 

„ tools 
Coptic papyri . 
Copying tombs . 







24, 50 

44. SO 

• 47 
. 21 

• 36 
29. 43. 44. 46 

• 43 
16, 34 
. 48 

2, 22 

Crum, W. E., on papyri 
Cubit at mastaba . 

„ in pyramid . 

„ sign of . . . 
Cylinder seal . 






Destructions in modern times, 

I, 4, IS, 16, 17, 18, 22, 23, 
24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 34 
Dialects of Coptic .... 48 
Draught-board sign . . -33 
Drawing the sculptures . . 23 
Dressing of stone .... 27 

Endowment of tombs . 
Excavations of Mariette 
in mastabas 

Eye paint 

• 37 

16, 18 

13. 14, 

17, 18 
need of scientific i 
difficult at temple 3 

41, &c. 

False pits in mastabas. 
Farm servants, sculptured 
Fayum papyri . 
„ places in . 


„ drying fish. 
Flints buried in mastaba 

„ teeth of sickle . 
Foundations, laying out 
Frescoes .... 

„ nature of . 
Frit colours .... 
„ unknown at 

Furniture of tomb . 

Galena eye paint . 
Gizeh great pyramid . 


24. 38 
. 48 

• 50 
. 24, 38 

• 23 

• 31 


5. 19. 27 





Gladstone, Dr., analyses by . 36 

Glaze, early 34 

Graffiti 9, 40 

Griffith, F. LL, on inscriptions 37 
Grooves on pyramid face . . 10 

Hawks in temple ... 9, 34 
Heknen, mastaba . . . 20, 38 
Hieroglyphs, origins of . 30, &c. 
Hotep, origin of 33 

Inlayed colouring of Nefer- 
mat 24 

Jars, sealed , 
Kohl . 

Letters, Coptic . 
Levels of pyramid . 
„ at mastaba. 
Libyan archer . 

. 24 
41, &c. 



Madder pink, Roman ... 47 

Magnetite eye paint ... 43 

Manganese eye paint ... 43 

Marks on pottery .... 35 

Masonry, dressing of . . .27 

Mastaba, system of, j, 12, 14, 15, 19 

angles of. . 5, 15, 18 

massive building of. 14 

„ plundered anciently 17 

„ sculptures of . 23, &c. 

„ of aboriginal race 20, 2 1 

„ earhest . . . . n 

„ of Heknen . 20, 25, 38 

„ of Nefermat . . 14, 39 

of Rahotep . 15, 23, 37 

,, „ annex . 17 

„ of Ranefer? . 17, 24, 38 

„ „ fictitious 24 




Medum, name of . . . .39 

Meresankh, queen ... 40, 41 
Mestem eye paint . . .41, &c. 

Mosaic decoration, so called . 24 

Moving blocks, machine for . 35 

Mummifying, early . . .17 

Mutilations of bodies . . .21 

Nefer sign, origin of . . -30 
Nefermat's decoration ... 24 
„ mastaba . 14, 25, 39 

Nefert, chamber of (see Ra- 

hotep) 24 

Nub sign 33 

Offerings at pyramid . 
Origins of hieroglyphics 
Overlapping roofs . 

Peribolus of pyramid . 

„ building within 


Pyramid, excavations at 

casing discovered 
now a quarry 

„ inside cleared 

„ construction . 

„ destruction of 

„ size of . 

„ angles of. 

„ theory of. 

19. 35 

30, &c. 

II, 20 


20, 35 



Pyramid, inner coats of 
„ levels of . 
„ causeway 
„ passages . 

Races, two in Egypt 
Rahotep mastaba 
Ranefer? mastaba 
Rope cartouche 
„ numerals . 


. . 6 

• • 7 

• • 9 
. 10 

. 20, 2 1 
15. 23, 37 
17. 24. 38 

• • 33 
. • 33 


Russell, Dr., on colours . 44, &c. 

Sculptures 23, &c. 

Seal, cylinder 33 

Sealing of offering jars . . 24 
Secondary burials . . . . 19 
Sickle with flint teeth . ..31 

Siga board 7 

Skeletons mutilated . . .21 

„ preserved . . 20, 22 

Sneferu, evidence of . . .10 

„ name found . 4, 26, 40 

„ queen of . . . .41 

Sneferu-khati ... 9, 34, 40 

Spoilers attacked tombs . . 2 

Spurrell, F. C. J., on colours . 28 

Stone face, scraping of . . 27 

Survey of mastaba . . . . 13 

„ pyramid .... 5 

Suten rekh, meaning of . -37 

Tahutmes III graffiti . . 40, 41 
r^i? sign, origin of . . . -31 
Temple, search for. . . . 3 
entered .... 4 
position .... 8 

court 8 

dimensions ... 8 
courses .... 9 
graffiti .... 9 
objects in . . 9, 34, 40 
Third dynasty, civilization of 

30, &c. 

Tin in bronze 36 

„ source of 44 

Tombs, see Mastabas. 

Tools, analyses 36 

copper . . . . 16, 34 

„ in hieroglyphs . . .32 

Trade, evidences of ... 44 

Uai paint 

41, 42, 44 

Water, colour of .... 30 

Weapons 31 

Wells of tombs, secondary . 19 

Wiedemann, Dr., on kohl . 41, &c. 

Wood used in construction . 16 

Working lines of mastaba. . 12 

„ of stone .... 27 

Workmen , i 


Inductive Metrology. 8s. 6d. Stanford. Racial Portraits. 190 photographs from Egyptian 
Stonehenge : Plans, Descriptions, and Theories. 3.. 6d. monuments. 45^- Harman, High Street, Bromley, 

Stanford ^'''^• 

Ti,» p,,,.,™:j„ jt 1 c r-- I. r-\. t-j-^- Historical Scarabs, Drawings of 2,220. 68 plates. Ss. 
1 he ryramids and lemples of Gizeh. Cheap Edition. > & > r 

8 plates. 6s. The Leadenhall Press. 

~ . „ - , ^^ „ , „ ^ Hawara Biahmu and Arsinoe. %o plates. (Out of 

ianis. Part I. 19 plates. 25^-. Kegan Paul & Co. . , -i r \ 

^ ^ pnnt) 

Tanis, Part II. ; Nebesheh and Defenneh (Tahpanhes). j^ahun, Gurob, and Hawara. 28 plates. i6s. Kegan 
64. plates. 2 5 J. Kegan Paul & Co. Paul & Co 

Naukratis, Part I. 45 plates. 25J-. Kegan Paul lHahun, Kahun, and Gurob. 33 plates. i6s. Nutt. 
& Co. 

Tell el Hesy (Lachish). 10 plates, los. 6d. Alex- 

Hieroglyphic Papyrus from Tanis. 15 plates. Sj. ander Watt. 

' Ten Years' Digging in Egypt, 1881-1891. A popular 
A Season in Egypt, 1887. 32 plates. 12s. The summary. 118 illustrations. 6s. Religiotis Tract 

Leadenhall Press. Society. 






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